This time, the sledgehammer is delivered courtesy of Barbara Feder Ostrov's Health Journalism Blog. Like plenty of other folks, she was shocked at Joe Mangano's claims -- ones that he backed off from when under questioning from MedPage Today -- so she talked to some long-time medical journalists.
Here's what Ivan Oransky of Reuters Health had to say about Mangano's research:
I do use impact factor to judge journals, while accepting that it's an imperfect measure that is used in all sorts of inappropriate ways (and, for the sake of full disclosure, is a Thomson Scientific product, as in Thomson Reuters). I find it helpful to rank journals within a particular specialty.Here's Gary Schwitzer of Health News Review:
I looked up the journal in question, and it's actually ranked 45th out of 58 in the Health Policy and Services category (in the social sciences rankings) and 59th out of 72 in the Health Care Sciences & Services category (in the science rankings).
Journalists who live on a steady diet of journal articles almost by definition promote a rose-colored view of progress in research if they don't grasp and convey the publication bias in many journals for positive findings. Negative or null findings may not be viewed as sexy enough. Or they may be squelched prior to submission. While perhaps not a factor in this one case, it nonetheless drives home the point to journalists about the need to critically evaluate studies.I'm afraid I have more bad news for Mangano. Who's going to tell Christie Brinkley?