Assessment of publication bias for the surgeon scientist




Publication bias occurs when statistically non-significant (negative) findings are not published. It can profoundly affect the results of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.


Qualitative and quantitative methods of detecting publication bias are described, including their advantages and disadvantages.

Results and conclusion:

Accepted quality standards for the reporting of meta-analyses recommend assessment of publication bias, but currently there is no uniform standard for reporting. Quantitative methods are being used with increasing frequency. Authors should take steps to minimize publication bias, and use both qualitative and quantitative assessment methods to determine whether it is present. Copyright © 2008 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.