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Colombian Journal of Anestesiology

Print version ISSN 0120-3347

Rev. colomb. anestesiol. vol.46 no.2 Bogotá Apr./June 2018 

Letter to the Editor

In regard to a published article: the need to improve the quality of scientific literature in Spanish

Aldo Barajas-Ochoaa  *  , Cesar Ramos-Remusb 

a Unidad de Investigación en Enfermedades Crónico-Degenerativas, Guadalajara, Mexico

b Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico

The article by Aguirre-Ospina et al1, published in your journal, is an example of the fact that imprecise language as well as errors or omissions in data management (statistical analysis) obscure and distort what could have been a useful piece of research. To the point: (a) the statement "Baseline variables were analysed regarding the 2 randomisation groups with the aim of finding associations and primary and secondary outcomes" is incomprehensible; (b) Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the section "primary and secondary outcomes" are contradictory; (c) although the primary outcome is a discreet continuous variable (analog numerical scale), the statistical tests used to determine whether the differences are significant (Chi-square and Fisher'stest) are designed to assess categorical variables,2 and no data transformation is reported (had it been done, there would be no reason for such an omission)3,4; (d) there is a problem of semantics in the statement "Sample size was estimated with the purpose of showing pain reduction …" because sample size cannot be used to "demonstrate" but rather to avoid type I and II errors.2

Situations like the one found in the cited article1 are not exclusive of anesthesiology, the country or the language (statistical errors have been reported in relation to articles published in Nature Medicine).3,5,6 However, considering that Spanish is the second native language most widely spoken in the world,7 the Spanish-speaking scientific community should have a better positioning. Scientific communication needs to be clear so that it can be interpreted correctly. It behooves us to work toward improving the quality of scientific literature in Spanish.


1. Aguirre-Ospina OD, Gómez-Salgado JC, Chaverra D, et al. Bloqueo del plano transverso del abdomen en herniorrafia inguinal. Ensayo clínico controlado. Rev Colomb Anestesiol 2017; 45:159-165. [ Links ]

2. Daniel WW. Biostatistics: a foundation for the analysis in the health sciences. 7th ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken:1999. [ Links ]

3. Schulz KF, Altman DG, Moher D. CONSORT Group.CONSORT 2010 statement: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomized trials. Ann Intern Med 2010; 152:726-732. [ Links ]

4. Kotz D, Cals JWL. Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, Part IV: Methods. J Clin Epidemiol 2013; 66:817. [ Links ]

5. Strasak AM, Zaman Q, Marinell G, et al. The use of statistics in medical research: a comparison of the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine. Am Stat 2007; 61:47-56. [ Links ]

6. Mandujano-Romero E, Gajeda-Ancca P. Quality of theses for obtaining a medical degree. San Antonio Abad Cusco National University, Peru, 2000-2009. Acta Med Per 2013; 30:70-74. [ Links ]

7. Ethnologue. Languages of the world. 20th ed. [Internet]. Dallas: SIL International; 2017; Summary by language size; 2017. [Citado 23 September 2017] Disponible en: [ Links ]

How to cite this article: Barajas-Ochoa A, Ramos-Remus C. In regard to a published article: the need to improve the quality of scientific literature in Spanish. Rev Colomb Anestesiol. 2018;46:178-179.

Funding comment The authors declare not having received any form of funding.

Conflicts of interest The authors declare having no conflict of interest.

* Correspondence: Unidad de Investigación en Enfermedades Crónico-Degenerativas, Colomos 2292, Código Postal 44620, Providencia, Guadalajara, México. E-mail:

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