- 1.Spin is a type of reporting bias. As the term “reporting bias” implies, appropriate measures should be taken at the time of reporting of the trial to prevent or avoid them. Most readers may have access only to the abstracts. By reading the methodology of abstracts, one can get only an overall idea about the methodology used in the trial, and cannot understand nuances hidden in the methodology. Thus, discovering spin is a difficult task unless one is enlightened enough on this aspect. Suggesting reading the methodology section more thoroughly as the best way around this reporting bias is like accepting spin as a part of the reporting process. We believe efforts should be taken to remove the bias rather than accepting them and burdening the reader. This can be done, for example, by training journal reviewers to identify spin and by restructuring abstracts as suggested by Boutron et al.3
- 2.In 2018-2019 alone, reputed journals have published many articles highlighting the presence of spin in their fields of medicine.4,5The analysts of spin such as Arthur et al.,1in addition to their vast experience in their respective fields, have taken preresearch training to specifically differentiate spin. If they are at fault for misinterpreting the findings as spin, we believe that a large group of readers who happen to be clinicians are much more vulnerable to spin. The responsibility falls on the shoulders of authors and journals to convey research findings most understandably for the reader.
- 3.Randomized controlled trials are predesigned and registered to avoid reporting bias. On the completion of the study, authors should objectively report the outcomes irrespective of their significance. Neglecting a primary outcome because it is not significant and highlighting a secondary outcome because it has significant association introduces spin and misrepresents the intention of the trial in the first place.
- ICMJE author disclosure forms
- Analyzing spin in abstracts of orthopaedic randomized controlled trials with statistically insignificant primary endpoints.Arthroscopy. 2020; 36: 1443-1450.e1
- Spinning “spin” in randomized trials in orthopaedic surgery.Arthroscopy. 2020; 36: 1451
- Impact of spin in the abstracts of articles reporting results of randomized controlled trials in the field of cancer: The SPIIN randomized controlled trial.J Clin Oncol. 2014; 32: 4120-4126
- Fibronectin EDA forms the chronic fibrotic scar after contusive spinal cord injury.Neurobiol Dis. 2018; 116: 60-68
- An evaluation of spin in lower extremity joint trials.J Arthroplasty. 2019; 34: 1008-1012
Note: The authors report no conflicts of interest in the authorship and publication of this article. Full ICMJE author disclosure forms are available for this article online, as supplementary material.