Publication bias in clinical research

These findings suggest that conclusions based only on a review of published data should be interpreted cautiously, especially for observational studies

P.J Easterbrook; R Gopalan; J.A Berlin; D.R Matthews

2003

Scholarcy highlights

  • 487 research projects approved by the Central Oxford Research Ethics Committee between 1984 and 1987, were studied for evidence of publication bias
  • Studies with statistically significant results were more likely to be published than those finding no difference between the study groups
  • Studies with significant results were more likely to lead to a greater number of publications and presentations and to be published in journals with a high citation impact factor
  • The tendency towards publication bias was greater with observational and laboratory-based experimental studies than with randomised clinical trials
  • We have confirmed the presence of publication bias in a cohort of clinical research studies
  • Improved strategies are needed to identify the results of unpublished as well as published studies

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