The file drawer’s on fire!

Kevin Lewis sends along this article, commenting, “That’s one smokin’ file drawer!”

Here’s the story, courtesy of Clayton Velicer, Gideon St. Helen, and Stanton Glantz:

We examined the relationship between the tobacco industry and the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (RTP) using the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library and internet sources. We determined the funding relationships, and categorised the conclusions of all 52 RTP papers on tobacco or nicotine between January 2013 and June 2015, as “positive”, “negative” or “neutral” for the tobacco industry. RTP’s editor, 57% (4/7) of associate editors and 37% (14/38) of editorial board members had worked or consulted for tobacco companies. Almost all (96%, 50/52) of the papers had authors with tobacco industry ties. Seventy-six percent (38/50) of these papers drew conclusions positive for industry; none drew negative conclusions. The two papers by authors not related to the tobacco industry reached conclusions negative to the industry (p < .001). These results call into question the confidence that members of the scientific community and tobacco product regulators worldwide can have in the conclusions of papers published in RTP.

I wonder what statisticians Herbert Solomon, Richard Tweedie, Arnold Zellner, Paul Switzer, Joseph Fleiss, Nathan Mantel, Joseph Berkson, Ingram Olkin, Donald Rubin, and Ronald Fisher would have said about this sort of selection bias.

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