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Table 2 Themes and sub-themes in “researchers’ response styles”

From: COMPare: Qualitative analysis of researchers’ responses to critical correspondence on a cohort of 58 misreported trials

Researchers’ response styles
Diversion
 1. Stating that trials are hard work to conduct
 2. Stating that other issues are more important
 3. Response based on issues not raised by COMPare
 4. Ad hominem
Challenging legitimacy of discussion
 1. Expressing a preference for conventional peer review over open post-publication critical appraisal
 2. Disagreement with the general approach of COMPare/CONSORT
 3. Asserting that there should be the opportunity to post comments on COMPare’s own raw data sheets online
 4. Stating that they applaud the overall goal, followed by a caveat
Trust
 1. Statement that discrepancies were not motivated by desire to manipulate findings
 2. Stating that outcome misreporting doesn’t matter if the main results of the study are unlikely to be affected
Incorrect statements about outcome reporting in their own paper
 1. Denying that specific misreported outcomes were indeed misreported
 2. General denial of COMPare’s findings
Technical/Rhetorical
 1. Appealing to the existence of a novel category of outcomes whose results need not be correctly reported
 2. Stating that space constraints prevent all pre-specified outcomes from being reported
 3. Stating that it is not necessary to pre-specify some outcomes as they are “necessarily implied” by other outcomes
 4. Inaccurate statements about COMPare’s methods
  1. Abbreviations: COMPare Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Outcome Monitoring Project, CONSORT Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials