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Research Christmas 2014: Found in Translation

SearCh for humourIstic and Extravagant acroNyms and Thoroughly Inappropriate names For Important Clinical trials (SCIENTIFIC): qualitative and quantitative systematic study

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7092 (Published 16 December 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7092

To name is human

I am very much in favour of acronyms for clinical trials as they serve the same useful purpose of having names for human beings. [1]. The use of the name ‘George Clooney’ rather than the description’ a middle aged, charming, Hollywood actor with slightly grey hair who got married recently in Venice’ greatly enhances brevity and clarity in communication.

It is the duplication of acronyms across various inter-related specialities that threaten to significantly diminish the utility of trial acronyms. For instance, multiple contemporary Hollywood actresses with names such as ‘Angelina Jolie’ or ‘Scarlett Johansson’ would greatly diminish the appeal of that screen name.

An INTERnational registry for Acronyms of Clinical Trials (INTERACT) would certainly enhance interaction between researchers by avoiding duplication of acronyms in related specialities .[2].

References
1 Pottegard A, Haastrup MB, Stage TB, et al. SearCh for humourIstic and Extravagant acroNyms and Thoroughly Inappropriate names For Important Clinical trials (SCIENTIFIC): qualitative and quantitative systematic study. BMJ 2014;349:g7092–g7092. doi:10.1136/bmj.g7092

2 Sundar S, Lawton P. International register of trial acronyms. The Lancet 2004;363:171. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(03)15284-1

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 December 2014
Santhanam Sundar
Consultant Oncologist
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS trust
Nottingham