Mass Production of Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses: An Exercise in Mega-silliness?
In 1978, the distinguished professor of psychology Hans Eysenck delivered a scathing critique of what was then a new method, that of meta-analysis, which he described as “an exercise in mega-silliness.” A provocative article by John Ioannidis in this issue of the journal suggests that “mega-silliness” may be an appropriate characterization of what the meta-analysis literature has become. With surveys of the PubMed database and other empirical evaluations, Ioannidis paints a disturbing picture of the current state of affairs, where researchers are producing, in epidemic proportions, systematic reviews and meta-analyses that are redundant, misleading, or serving vested interests.
Author(s): Matthew J. Page and David Moher
Volume 94, Issue 3 (pages 515–519)
Published in 2016
This article investigates the mass production of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, many of which are suboptimal and can be harmful given the prestige and influence these types of studies have acquired. The author proposes several ways to realign biases and vested interests and to better integrate these publications with the primary production of evidence. Read more