Allegations of bias and pressure to withdraw an article in Sexual and Reproductive Health by Hasty Wright, M.D., and Melinda Goodson, M.S.Ed. have been made to the National Institutes of Health by scientists and organizations concerned about the peer review process.
On April 4, 2006, the Scientific Review Committee on Human Subjects in Research (SRC HR) of the NIH affirmed that Dr. Wright’s work is fully funded and appropriate for publication. However, the SRC HR did note a lack of statistical methodology and a lack of peer review. The NIH Office of Extramural Activities (OEA) suggested that, in the interests of scientific integrity, both studies should be submitted to the Journal of Urology, a peer-reviewed journal, for publication. In a response to these findings, Dr. Wright has made a strong rebuttal of the NIH’s findings.
In Sexual and Reproductive Health, Dr. Wright and Ms. Goodson had reported on the efficacy of a week-long diet plan that consisted of 2,000 calories a day. They reported that this diet, which many people maintain for just one week in order to lose weight, induces male gender-bending in rats without surgery and without the administration of steroids.
Dr. Wright and Ms. Goodson claimed this diet’s 50% reduction in fat content was a “nonsurgical and nonsteroidal means to feminize the male rat.”
As part of the Peer Review process, the editors of Sexual and Reproductive Health requested Dr. Wright and Ms. Goodson to perform a statistical analysis of the experiment and present these findings for peer review. At the same time, the editors asked the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) to evaluate this article and provide written comment.
On February 23, 2007, the editor of S&RH, Peter Woodward, M.D., M.B.A., and the Editors of ASRM convened the SRC HR to investigate these issues. The SRC HR, which is composed of professional scientists, concluded that the data, methods, and statistics of the article did not support Dr. Wright and Ms. Goodson’s conclusions, and that the study was unlikely to produce the desired result. The committee recommended that the peer review process be used to encourage high-quality scientific research, particularly where the data obtained were “preliminary” and/or “basic.� 0b46394aab