James C. Coyne Brief Biographical Sketch


James C. Coyne is Professor Emeritus of Psychology in Psychiatry Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania where he was also Director of Behavioral Oncology and Senior Fellow at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics.  He also served on the faculties of the University of Michigan School of Medicine and University of California, Berkeley and has held numerous international visiting faculty appointments.

Professor Coyne has authored more than 450 articles and chapters and has been designated one of the most influential psychologists of the second half of the 20th century. His diverse interests include depression and PTSD, mental health services research, stress and coping, the evaluation of mental health screening and suicide prevention programs and improving the quality of clinical trials and meta-analyses; he has also served as a co-investigator or external scientific consultant on most large-scale community-based suicide prevention projects. Starting with his peer-reviewed articles, but continuing with his blogging and critical appraisal workshops, Professor Coyne is known for his ability to detect confirmatory bias and departures from protocols for clinical trials and meta-analyses. He has earned a reputation for providing critiques of poorly conducted meta-analyses and randomized controlled trials in high profile journals that stick and change prevailing opinions.

Professor Coyne has served on numerous editorial boards and was an early activist for open access publications, post-publication peer review and improved transparency and disclosure of conflicts of interest.

Professor Coyne is one of the few psychologist members of the International Network for the History of Neuropsychopharmacology and serves on its membership committee.

His activism has exposed undisclosed conflicts of interest, which have led to revised journal requirements for reporting competing interests. With colleagues, he has obtained dozens of corrections to published papers, retractions, earning himself formal recognition as a troublemaker with an esteemed Bill Silverman Prize from the Cochrane Collaboration.

Among his most recent projects, Professor Coyne is challenging promoters of psychedelics to produce compelling evidence of the efficacy of these drugs as mental health treatments that can survive his scrutiny. He is tracking the contribution of medicalizing, but not decriminalizing cannabis and psychedelics on illicit drug use in the community and drug-related violence. He has developed methodological and statistical arguments that most studies in suicidology will not contribute to a reduction in deaths by suicide. He similarly argues that most observational studies of health disparities will not substantially contribute to a reduction in racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes.

A frequent target of online harassment, Professor Coyne is campaigning for organized efforts to reduce cybermobbing while preserving free speech and robust criticism of poor scientific and publishing practices.

Dr. Coyne has written for platforms such as Science-Based Medicine, PLOS Mind the Brain, Medium and more recently, Substack. His website is www.coyneoftherealm.com.


July 20, 2023