Bmj Usa: Letter

Rapid Responses from

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 19 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:E155

From BMJ USA 2002;October:570

As of September 19, 2002, this article had generated 8 Rapid Responses, which can be read in their entirety at Edited excerpts of two responses, and the author's reply, are presented here.Editor

The use of masking procedures

  1. William P Plummer, consultant psychiatrist (
  1. East Kent Community NHS Trust, Canterbury, UK
  2. Dianthus Medical Limited, London, UK
  3. Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Rigshospitalet, Denmark

    EDITOR—Although there seems to be good agreement in this study between raters' assessment of authors' conclusions on a 6-point scale, there is enough variation and subjectivity in this assessment for bias to be a serious concern. At the very least, assessments of authors' conclusions should be made without knowledge of the source of funding, and assessment of the source of funding should be made without knowledge of the authors' conclusions.

    The procedures for masking or blinding in this investigation do not meet this standard. One investigator assessed both source of funding and authors' conclusions without any masking. The second investigator assessed authors' conclusions without …

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