Statistics from Altmetric.com
I’ll admit it: I find the ending salvo to a paper to the effect that ‘more studies are urgently required’ oddly enervating. In essence, I think there are four reasons. First, it should be a reader’s prerogative to decide which level of the ecosystem of evidence the paper inhabits. Second, it feels as if the authors are perhaps trying too hard. Thirdly, it has an oddly counterintuitive diminishing effect on one’s confidence in the findings: it’s easy to misconstrue as saying ‘we’re not sure our findings standalone’. Finally, on a (pedantic) semantic point, it often represents a misuse of the term ‘urgency’ itself.
This practice isn’t of course, confined to medicine, and is perhaps simply a reflection of societal trends: the email exclamation mark, the use of bold and capital letters, the anatomical attachment to the mobile and social media site, the raising of voices (ruffling of feathers…) to which we are all, probably, becoming unwittingly inured.
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