Zombie statistics

10 January 2013

Ah, that old statistic about only half of clinical trials being published.

Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? Trouble is, it's based on old data. More recent data show higher publication rates. I have recently debunked your zombie statistic on my blog after the same statistic was quoted by Sense About Science.

To be clear though, this doesn't invalidate your argument that we should not be satisfied until 100% of trials are published, and I support any efforts to move in that direction. In fact I and some colleagues have published some practical suggestions about how we might make progress, which are actually not dissimilar to some of the points you make.

But when writing articles about completeness of the evidence base, is it too much to ask that we use good quality evidence when quoting statistics?

Competing interests: My company provides professional medical writing services. If more trials were published, that would probably be good for our business.

Adam Jacobs, Director

Dianthus medical Limited, London, SW19 2RL

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