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Restoring biomedical literature with RIAT

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1742 (Published 26 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1742
  1. Peter Doshi, assistant professor1,
  2. Larissa Shamseer, postdoctoral fellow1,
  3. Mark Jones, statistician2,
  4. Tom Jefferson, senior associate tutor3
  1. 1University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore, MD, USA
  2. 2University of Queensland School of Public Health, Brisbane, Australia
  3. 3Oxford University Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to: P Doshi pdoshi{at}rx.umaryland.edu

Free support and grant funding are now available to authors wanting to correct the record

Clinical trials are arguably medicine’s most powerful methodological tool for providing evidence on the effects of healthcare interventions. But for all the promises of evidence based medicine, the problem of publication bias from unpublished trials has threatened to undermine the enterprise. And over the past decade, a growing body of research has shown that trial publications—even those in the world’s most prestigious, peer reviewed journals—cannot be taken at face value.123456 Journal articles may inaccurately reflect both the study’s design and the data collected. Incompleteness and inaccuracy of the public record is a delicate ethical issue since clinical trials are experiments on humans. Whether intentional or not, these problems can cause harm to people and waste public resources.7

Noting these problems, in 2005 The BMJ’s former editor, Richard Smith, suggested that journals were no longer the ideal vehicle for reporting trials; regulated websites would be better.8 Three years later, the ClinicalTrials.gov registry opened its results database, …

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