Peer-reviewers identified spin in manuscripts of non-randomized studies assessing therapeutic interventions, but their impact on spin in abstract conclusions was limited.
Lazarus C., Haneef R., Ravaud P., Hopewell S., Altman DG., Boutron I.
To describe the impact of peer reviewers on spin in reports of non-randomized studies assessing a therapeutic intervention.Systematic review and retrospective before-after study.Primary reports (n=128) published in BioMed Central Medical Series journals between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2013.Number and type of spin examples identified, deleted or added by peer reviewers in the whole manuscript. Number of reports with spin in abstract conclusions not detected by peer reviewers. The level of spin (i.e., no, low, moderate and high level of spin) in the abstract conclusions before and after the peer review.For 70 (55%) submitted manuscripts, peer reviewers identified at least one example of spin. Of 123 unique examples of spin identified by peer reviewers, 82 (67%) were completely deleted by the authors. For 19 articles (15%), peer reviewers requested adding some spin, and for 11 (9%), the spin was added by the authors. Peer reviewers failed to identify spin in abstract conclusions of 97 (76%) reports.Peer reviewers identified many examples of spin in submitted manuscripts. However, their influence on changing spin in the abstract conclusions was low.