Editorials

An amnesty for unpublished trials

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7161.763 (Published 19 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:763

One year on, many trials are unregistered and the amnesty remains open

  1. Ian Roberts, Director. (Ian.Roberts@ich.ucl.ac.uk)
  1. Child Health Monitoring Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH

    A year ago the editors of 50-100 medical journals called an amnesty for unpublished trials.1 Investigators with unreported trial data were invited to register their trials by completing an unreported trial registration form. The aim was to tap the silent subterranean pool of unpublished research and, by bringing these data to the surface, to increase the power of systematic reviews and reduce the effects of publication bias. In this respect the amnesty was a flop. To date, only 165 trials have been registered2—a drop in the ocean of unpublished research. But perhaps this is being too negative. Most of the …

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