Monday, December 04, 2006

More doubts about Johns Hopkins Iraqi civilian death toll study

Back in October, I blogged about a questionable study made by Johns Hopkins university and published in the medical journal Lancet which placed the post-invasion Iraqi civilian death toll at around 655,000.

An article published in today's London Times casts further doubt on the study:
Do you remember that contentious paper in the Lancet in October, claiming that the invasion of Iraq had led to the deaths of 655,000 Iraqis? After its publication world leaders queued up to denounce the methodology. Away from the headlines, scepticism continues to harden.

Peter Lynn, Professor of Survey Methodology at the Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, has been quietly investigating and, despite several e-mails to the researchers, has been unable to get answers: “I can’t come out and say I support the paper, or say that it’s rubbish, because I haven’t been able to find out enough. But the fact that they are dragging their feet on answering my questions makes me sceptical.” Had the paper been submitted to a statistics journal instead, Professor Lynn says, it might not have survived peer review.

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