FEATURED RESEARCH (“Reassessing the Effects of a Communication-and-Resolution Program on Hospitals’ Malpractice Claims and Costs”) – Another Example of a Journal Behaving Badly

NOTE: According to the SCImago Journal Rankings, Health Affairs is ranked in the top quartile (Q1) of journals in the “Health Policy” and “Medicine (miscellaneous)” subject areas. It has an H-index of 190.

[Excerpts are taken from the article “Reassessing the Effects of a Communication-and-Resolution Program on Hospitals’ Malpractice Claims and Costs” by Florence LeCraw, Daniel Montanera, and Thomas Mroz in Econ Journal Watch.]

“All the evidence behind the present reassessment was available in the original article and hence to the editors and reviewers at Health Affairs, and two of the three major flaws we uncovered follow directly from only a moderately close examination of the paper’s tables….Such failure does not appear to be a rare event in health research, as indicated by several other investigations (Ebrahim et. 2014; Khan et al. 2020; Ito et al. 2021).”

“Most importantly, Health Affairs’ response to the uncovering of these errors, even after the external reviewers concurred with our reanalysis, was to offer only a reduced-visibility forum for the reanalysis.”

“…More concerning was a senior Health Affairs editor telling us that their policy is to not publish replication papers even when peer review errors are identified since their audience is not interested in this type of paper.”

“Unfortunately, burying or ignoring the uncovering of all but the most scandalous errors in published research seems to be the norm in health policy and medical journals. At the 2022 International Congress of Peer Review and Scientific Publication, four editors-in-chief of medical journals told one of us that they also did not publish replication studies. They all said they were concerned that publishing replication papers would negatively affect their impact factors.”

“Due to the attitudes of the editorial boards described above, most researchers perceive little or no reward for attempts to uncover such deficiencies in medical and healthcare papers. Medical journals, as well as academic institutions, should strongly encourage and reward replications and re-analyses of published papers.”

“We think of the paraphrasing of a sentiment often attributed to Mark Twain or Josh Billings: ‘It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.'”

To read the full article, click here.

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