Thursday, April 05, 2007

Data Availability

I sent the following letter to most of the Lancet authors.


My name is David Kane and I am a fellow at IQSS at Harvard. I will be presenting a paper at JSM in Salt Lake City.


1) One of my main goals in this paper is to avoid the mistakes of Hicks and Spagat/Johnson/Gourley by ensuring that every description of your work that I publish is *accurate*. Is there someone that I might direct questions to in order to achieve this? I am happy to e-mail all of you or just a subset or just one contact person. Whichever you prefer.

2) I could not find e-mail addresses for all the authors of both papers. Would you mind passing this message on to Riyadh Lafta and Jamal Khudhairi?

3) Can you give me an update on data availability? I know that there has been talk about making the data available to researchers like me but I have been unable to confirm this. Do you still expect to make that data available? If so, when? As you can see, my current abstract claims that the data is not available and I won't be able to edit that abstract after April 11. If you could make the data available to me (with all identifying information removed, of course) before April 11, then I could update my abstract appropriately.

4) It is fair to say that I am a critic of the estimates in your papers (I think that Jon Pedersen's are probably closer to the mark), but I consider myself a scientist first. My main goal here is the truth.

Thanks for your time,

Dave Kane

PS. I have cc'd several people that I have communicated with on this topic. Hope you don't mind.

The dig against Hicks/Spagat et. al. might have been a little harsh. Is it there fault that the written description of the Lancet methodology is not easy to parse? But I thought that politeness was the better part of valor in this case. My main goal is to get access to the data and to get at least one of the authors to answer my questions.

UPDATE: Edited to embed link to fix formatting.


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