More than 120 doctors and medical professionals sent an open letter to The Lancet editor Richard Horton on May 28 outlining ten problems with the study and requesting that Horton make the underlying data and methods available for other experts to review.
“The authors have not adhered to standard practices in the machine learning and statistics community. They have not released their code or data,” the letter says. “There was no ethics review.”
“There was no mention of the countries or hospitals that contributed to the data source and no acknowledgments to their contributions. A request to the authors for information on the contributing centres was denied,” the letter continues. “Data from Australia are not compatible with government reports. Surgisphere have since stated this was an error of classification of one hospital from Asia. This indicates the need for further error checking throughout the database.”
Desai claims his company employs 11 people, but Surgisphere’s LinkedIn page listed six employees last week, then just three employees on Wednesday. Two of those employees are a known science fiction writer and an adult content model. Several of the employees listed had no scientific or statistical experience, according to The Guardian.