Are there too many meta-analyses in biomedical research?

Neuroskeptic discusses a paper which states that rates of publication of meta-analyses and systematic reviews in PubMed are growing exponentially.

Paper author Giovanni Tebala concludes that if the trend continues then “in the future we will have a growing number of synthetic studies utilizing someone else’s original data and fewer raw data to base our knowledge upon” 1.

Neuroskeptic believes that the growth in meta-analyses identified by Tebala could be a significant problem. The scientific literature would become ‘top heavy’, with a large amount of interpretation and analysis based on a limited amount of evidence.

However, in an update to the article, Neuroskeptic reports that a flaw had been found in Tebala’s methodology. Repeating Tebala’s analysis with an improved methodology found that the rates in growth of meta-analyses and systematic reviews are not as bad as Tebala reported.

  1. Tebala GD (2015). What is the future of biomedical research? Medical Hypotheses PMID: 26194725
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