Lies, damned lies and epidemiology: why global health needs good epidemiological practice guidelines


S Alba, C Mergenthaler

Epidemiology is the cornerstone of global health. It shapes policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying disease risk factors and preventive healthcare targets.

Most epidemiological findings are genuine and make an important contribution to global health, but some findings are obtained from ill-designed, poorly implemented, inappropriately analysed or selectively reported studies.

These practices in the grey zone between deliberate misconduct (which includes fabrication, falsification and plagiarism) and ideal scientific behaviour are commonly referred to as ‘questionable research practices’