Intended for healthcare professionals


Hidden data: Public health research is at risk from suppression by governments, study finds

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 20 August 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n2084
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

Researchers around the world have been pressured by government agencies to delay, alter, or not publish the findings of trials that investigate public health interventions, a small study has reported.1

Australian researchers surveyed the lead or corresponding study authors of 208 prevention trials covering nutrition, physical activity, sexual health, smoking, and substance use. The trials were all published from 2007 to 2017 and had been included in a Cochrane review.

Some 104 authors (50%) responded: 35 from North America, 34 from Europe, 18 from Oceania, and 17 from other countries. Of these, a fifth (18/98) reported at least one instance of suppression. The most reported type of suppression (from …

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