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Statistician's comment

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 13 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:125
  1. Stephen Evans
  1. Professor of medical statistics Department of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, London Hospital Medical College at QMW, London E1 4NS

    EDITOR,—The idea of the “fail safe N” is to some degree sound, but there are two problems with it as an approach to the issue of publication bias. Firstly, it is a crude method for testing whether a significant result of meta-analysis can be made not significant by the addition of N studies that have an average null effect. This overemphasises the importance of statistical significance, which …

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