How to Correct the Media When They Misreport Your Research

A study published in BMJ 2014;349 reports that mass-media misrepresentations and inaccuracies concerning research findings are often the products of university communication offices’ self-promotion efforts, the result of increasing competition among high education institutions to claim points of pride.

According to this study’s abstract:

Results 40% (95% confidence interval 33% to 46%) of the press releases contained exaggerated advice, 33% (26% to 40%) contained exaggerated causal claims, and 36% (28% to 46%) contained exaggerated inference to humans from animal research. When press releases contained such exaggeration, 58% (95% confidence interval 48% to 68%), 81% (70% to 93%), and 86% (77% to 95%) of news stories, respectively, contained similar exaggeration, compared with exaggeration rates of 17% (10% to 24%), 18% (9% to 27%), and 10% (0% to 19%) in news when the press releases were not exaggerated. Odds ratios for each category of analysis were 6.5 (95% confidence interval 3.5 to 12), 20 (7.6 to 51), and 56 (15 to 211). At the same time, there was little evidence that exaggeration in press releases increased the uptake of news. . . . Exaggeration in news is strongly associated with exaggeration in press releases. Improving the accuracy of academic press releases could represent a key opportunity for reducing misleading health related news. (

Researchers should pay careful attention to both inaccuracies and omissions in popular new reporting of their research. At the very least, a letter to the editor or a comment on the news web site is in order.

Simple boilerplate language follows:

I am writing in response to your article [title of news article here] by [journalist’s name here] that you published on [date of the news article here]. While I am grateful that you have brought my [and my colleagues’] research to a wider audience, I need to correct some inaccuracies [and omissions].

First, . . .

Second, . . .

Finally, . . .

Our research has promise but that potential is not yet fulfilled.

By responding to news reports of your research, you refine the public discussion and inform non-expert readers and journalists, “a key opportunity for reducing misleading health related news.”

Research Article on Facilitators/Inhibitors of Productivity

Research Article on Facilitators/Inhibitors of Productivity

Dowling, D. A., Savrin, C., & Graham, G. C.. (2013). Writing for publication: Perspectives of graduate nursing students and doctorally prepared faculty. Journal of Nursing Education, 52(7), 371-5.

Abstract: Publication is a common expectation for both faculty and graduate students in schools of nursing. Little is known about the perceptions of students and faculty regarding what supports or interferes with students’ success in writing for publication. Perceptions of supports and barriers to writing for publication and the differences in perceptions between graduate nursing students and faculty were examined. A descriptive comparative design was used to sample master’s (n = 62), Doctor of Nursing Practice (n = 66), and Doctor of Philosophy (n = 7) students and graduate faculty (n = 35) using two investigator-developed surveys. Students (71.1%) and faculty (57.6%) identified working with faculty and mentors as the greatest support. Students’ primary barrier was finding time (64.5%). Faculty identified not knowing how to get started (63.6%) as the students’ greatest barrier. Findings support that mentoring and finding sufficient time for writing are priorities for the development of a plan to support students in writing for publication. [Abstract provided by the journal.]

Press Director on Scientific Integrity and Open Access Publishing

The Scholarly Kitchen interviews Mike Rossner, retiring director of Rockefeller University Press, on scientific integrity, making research data publicly available and routes to open access. The interview is open access on the blog site:



RAMESES: Meta-narrative reviews & realist syntheses

The Journal of Advanced Nursing has published two standards developed as part of the Realist and Meta-narrative Evidence Syntheses Evolving Standards (RAMESES) project: “The RAMESES project is a NIHR funded international collaboration to produce such guidance and standards for these new forms of systematic review – Realist syntheses and Meta-narrative reviews.”

“RAMESES publication standards: meta-narrative reviews” can be found here:

“RAMESES publication standards: realist syntheses” can be found here:


Getting the Most Out of Citation Databases

Jackie McGrath, Roy Brown and Haifa Samra’s new article, “Before You Search the Literature: How to Prepare and Get the Most Out of Citation Databases,” will be especially helpful to emerging researchers and doctoral students (as well as clinicians):

Abstract: As evidence-based practice becomes more integrated into routine care, systematically searching of the literature is essential to making informed clinical decisions. To uncover all the evidence and get the most unbiased sense of what is known about a particular phenomenon or caregiving practice, a clear method of searching that is systematic is needed. This article provides a discussion of six steps in a systematic search: (1) constructing the question, (2) choose the appropriate database(s), (3) formulate a search strategy, (4) perform the search, (5) evaluate the results, (6) good results (answer the question) = use the search information, (7) bad results = start over (refine the search strategies). Tips for working with a librarian are also provided. Lastly, a checklist developed to facilitate the steps of the searching process is discussed and provided for use by readers. Nurses are not trained to systematically search the literature, yet evidence-based practice demands that nurses and all health professionals be familiar with the searching process, especially when making evidence-based caregiving decisions.

IRBs and the Making of Ethical Research

Today Inside Higher Ed interviews researcher Laura Stark, author of a new book published by University of Chicago Press, Behind Closed Doors: IRBs and the Making of Ethical Research.

The interview includes practical advice for successful IRB application.

Chronicle: Citation by Citation, New Maps Chart Hot Research and Scholarship’s Hidden Terrain

Jennifer Howard’s article “Citation by Citation, New Maps Chart Hot Research and Scholarship’s Hidden Terrain” in the 11 September 2011 Chronicle of Higher Education discusses recent research and application development by a team led by two biologists, Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin D. West, and a physicist, Martin Rosvall to map connections among research articles in different disciplines.

Their bibliometric analysis and the tool they are developing may help researchers to discover research outside their fields in journals that they would not normally read.

The article is on line for subscribers to the Chronicle, but a paper by Rosvall and Bergstrom, “Mapping Change in Large Networks,” is available in open access on line.


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