, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 183-203
Date: 26 Oct 2012

Avoiding Bias in Publication Bias Research: The Value of “Null” Findings

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Abstract

Meta-analytic reviews are an important tool for advancing science and guiding evidence-based practice. Publication bias is one of the greatest threats to meta-analytic reviews. This paper assesses the degree of publication bias in four previously published meta-analytic datasets from various fields of study in the organizational sciences. Of these datasets, one appears to be relatively unaffected by publication bias while the others seem to be noticeably influenced by this bias. Our “null” result (i.e., a prior meta-analytic estimate is unlikely to have been affected by publication bias) increases our confidence in the accuracy of our cumulative knowledge. Yet, our other findings suggest the presence of publication bias and point to the need for caution and further research.