Author Affiliations: Departments of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine (Drs Emerson, Warme, and Leopold) and Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics (Dr Wolf), University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (Dr Heckman); and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (Dr Brand).
We are gratified by the interest in our work1 and thank Mirkin and Bach for their thought-provoking suggestion.
It is not clear to us that raising awareness of a natural human tendency (to be drawn to a finding over an absence of one), or that reminding reviewers and editors that articles should be judged on methodological rigor rather than by the direction of the outcomes, will result in any sort of counteracting bias. Similarly, finding the means to publish high-quality, no-difference or “negative” studies, whether in print, in electronic editions, or in searchable online appendixes, seems to offer little downside, while providing a mechanism for no-difference studies to be identified by meta-analyses, decision analyses, and other forms of synthetic research.
Emerson GB, Warme WJ, Wolf FM, Heckman JD, Brand RA, Leopold SS. Outcome-Blinded Peer Review—Reply. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(13):1213-1214. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.290