"Is Cybermedicine Killing You?" - Peer Review and Evidence-Based Medicine: Author's Reply
Comment on: Eysenbach G, Kummervold PE. "Is Cybermedicine Killing You?" - The Story of a Cochrane Disaster. J Med Internet Res. 2005;7(2) p. e21 http://www.jmir.org/2005/2/e21/
Comment on: Fogel J. "Is Cybermedicine Killing You?" - Peer Review and Evidence-Based Medicine. J Med Internet Res. 2005;7(2) p. e38 http://www.jmir.org/2005/2/e38/
J Med Internet Res 2005;7(4):e39)
Fogel's suggestion of a grading system according to the level of peer review (reminiscent of grading systems for "level of evidence" of primary studies) is interesting, but further study is required to determine to what degree the proposed ratings actually correlate with quality or peer review rigor. My suggestion  was to routinely invite all authors of the primary studies to comment on a draft of the systematic review. They actually do not have to peer review the entire paper in the sense of having to write a full referee report, they just should have access to the review before its actual publication to ensure that the authors did not make any major extraction errors (such as in the reported case) or misinterpret any of the original studies (as this would be most easily spotted by the authors of the primary studies). Because authors of systematic reviews often contact the authors of the primary studies anyway (to inquire about nonpublished data or ask other questions), this could be done relatively easily and routinely, in particular, if preprint servers are used, which in other disciplines are common but are underused in medicine.
Edited by G. Eysenbach; This is a non-peer-reviewed article. submitted 18.07.05; accepted 18.07.05; published 28.07.05
© Gunther Eysenbach. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 28.7.2005. Except where otherwise noted, articles published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, including full bibliographic details and the URL (see "please cite as" above), and this statement is included.