Each passing day more clinicians comment about, and make clinical decisions based upon, articles published in JOI. JOI strives to have a mix of research articles and clinical case reports. JOI's editorial staff has the responsibility of assuring that results and suggested clinical outcomes published in the Journal are based upon good science, proper statistical analyses, and sound clinical practices. JOI currently has 284 active manuscript peer reviewers who contribute significantly to the quality of the published articles. These reviewers include scientists, academicians, and clinicians who, although they are busy, help by sharing their expertise with JOI. Each quality review can take significant time and JOI thanks each of the reviewers for their outstanding efforts. These reviewers not only help the authors improve the validity of the manuscripts, but contribute to the readability of the final article.
Comprehensive statistical analysis is essential for the reporting of quantitative studies. Numbers are more precise than words, and therefore better suited for communicating scientific results. Researchers are, for the most part, well intended and would not deliberately use the wrong statistical analysis to extract facts from data. The JOI editorial staff has the obligation to assure that authors utilize appropriate statistical measures and report the results accurately. To meet this criterion, the editorial staff includes a PhD biostatistician who reviews all manuscripts that involve statistical analysis. It has been found that when journals provide only statistical guidelines for reviewers (with “no help from a statistical expert”) there is no change in the overall quality of quantitative manuscripts as measured by the literary Goodman scale (0.9, 95% CI: −0.3 ± 2.1). When a biostatistician is utilized in the review process it has been shown to have a positive effect (5.5, 95% CI: 4.3 ± 6.7) on the final quality of published articles (Cobo E, et al. Statistical reviewers improve reporting in biomedical articles: a randomized trial. PloS ONE. 2007;2:e332).
This statistical review step is important because JOI has the responsibility of presenting the “truth”. Just as one can misrepresent the truth (lie) with words, the same can be achieved with numbers. There is a even a book titled How to Lie with Statistics. Mark Twain credited British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraile with having said “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Due to the efforts of the reviewers and our biostatistician, JOI is able to bring manuscripts from the draft stage to high-quality, truthful articles that have a positive impact on our profession.
James L. Rutkowski, PhD, DMD
Journal of Oral Implantology