A randomised controlled trial raised three aspects of concern: 1. The participants’ physical characteristics at entry to the study were listed in a table. For the two groups—intervention and control—one physical characteristic was given as a mean ± the standard deviations (SDs). However, the SDs for both groups were much smaller than they should have been. 2. The inclusion criteria were unusual. These excluded half of the eligible population. 3. The intervention was more successful than the control in managing the condition. The language of the paper adopted the style of an advertisement. The company manufacturing the intervention had assisted financially in the study. An independent statistical reviewer did not believe that the over stringent selection criteria could have explained the low SDs. Does COPE feel that these concerns might indicate research misconduct?
_ Was this a simple mistake between standard error and standard deviation? _ Further meta studies should be requested. _ Further clarification from the authors should be obtained along with a request for the original data.
No further action was taken.