In the Doghouse

A QP error and the need for data integrity

It’s the call (well, in this case, email) that no editor ever wants to get: “Hey QP, there is a glaring error in the issue I just received.”

It’s even worse when the error is not just embarrassing, but also contradicts the actual data. In December’s QP, which features the annual salary survey report, two columns in a table were inadvertently switched (Columns 4 and 5 in Table 1 in Section 2, p. 32), making it appear as if ASQ-certified individuals actually earn less than their non-certified counterparts. As the survey found (and is indicated in the narrative) and QP has reported year after year, the opposite is true.

But mistakes happen. And after my initial horror dissipated, we sprung into corrective action mode, fixing every instance in the online versions of the table (you can view and print the corrected version at qualityprogress.com/salarysurvey). The error, of course, lives on in your printed publication, and I can only offer my sincere apology, and assurance that preventive action has been taken.

The investigation into the root cause of the error coincided with work on our January issue, of which the cover story focuses on an apropos topic: the importance of knowing the “pedigree” of the data you’re using. We’ve published many recent articles on the sheer amount of data at our fingertips, but we must remember that data are only as good as the source. The authors explain how data can become tainted, and how it can and should be protected by using concepts such as chain of custody and the Food and Drug Administration’s use of data integrity. You’ll walk away with a greater appreciation for data about data. Read more in “Show Me the Pedigree.”

Sometimes, quality outcomes can be influenced by the simplest things, like a face-to-face conversation vs. a barrage of emails. Find out how to implement effective daily team meetings in “Let’s Huddle.”

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

Editor in Chief and Publisher

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