The Wall Street Journal has published an interesting article on the failure of medical journals to adequately screen articles (reprinted below in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year reviewed 122 medical-journal articles and found that 65 percent of findings on harmful effects weren’t completely reported. It also found gaps in half the findings on how well treatments worked. . . .
Journal editors rarely see the complete design and outcome of the studies summarized in articles submitted for publication. A typical article is perhaps six or seven pages long, even when the research behind it took years and involved thousands of patients. Peer reviewers — other scientists who work voluntarily to review articles before they are published — also see only the brief article. They might fail to notice suspicious omissions and changes in focus, or, if they do, lack the time or inclination to follow them up.