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      Why Current Publication Practices May Distort Science

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      PLoS Medicine

      Public Library of Science

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          Abstract

          John Ioannidis and colleagues argue that the current system of publication in biomedical research provides a distorted view of the reality of scientific data.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Priorities in Scientific Discovery: A Chapter in the Sociology of Science

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            Publication bias: evidence of delayed publication in a cohort study of clinical research projects.

            To determine the extent to which publication is influenced by study outcome. A cohort of studies submitted to a hospital ethics committee over 10 years were examined retrospectively by reviewing the protocols and by questionnaire. The primary method of analysis was Cox's proportional hazards model. University hospital, Sydney, Australia. 748 eligible studies submitted to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Ethics Committee between 1979 and 1988. Time to publication. Response to the questionnaire was received for 520 (70%) of the eligible studies. Of the 218 studies analysed with tests of significance, those with positive results (P or = 0.10) (hazard ratio 2.32 (95% confidence interval 1.47 to 3.66), P = 0.0003), with a significantly shorter time to publication (median 4.8 v 8.0 years). This finding was even stronger for the group of 130 clinical trials (hazard ratio 3.13 (1.76 to 5.58). P = 0.0001), with median times to publication of 4.7 and 8.0 years respectively. These results were not materially changed after adjusting for other significant predictors of publication. Studies with indefinite conclusions (0.05 < or = P < 0.10) tended to have an even lower publication rate and longer time to publication than studies with negative results (hazard ratio 0.39 (0.13 to 1.12), P = 0.08). For the 103 studies in which outcome was rated qualitatively, there was no clear cut evidence of publication bias, although the number of studies in this group was not large. This study confirms the evidence of publication bias found in other studies and identifies delay in publication as an additional important factor. The study results support the need for prospective registration of trials to avoid publication bias and also support restricting the selection of trials to those started before a common date in undertaking systematic reviews.
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              The Impact Factor Game

              (2006)
              The PLoS Medicine editors argue that we need a better measure than the impact factor for assessing the biomedical literature.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                PLoS Med
                pmed
                plme
                plosmed
                PLoS Medicine
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1549-1277
                1549-1676
                October 2008
                7 October 2008
                : 5
                : 10
                Author notes
                * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: youngns@ 123456mail.nih.gov
                Article
                08-PLME-ES-1446R3
                10.1371/journal.pmed.0050201
                2561077
                18844432
                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain declaration, which stipulates that, once placed in the public domain, this work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose.
                Page count
                Pages: 5
                Categories
                Essay
                Science Policy
                Medical Journals
                Health Economics
                Epidemiology
                Communication in Health Care
                Academic Medicine
                Custom metadata
                Young NS, Ioannidis JPA, Al-Ubaydli O (2008) Why current publication practices may distort science. PLoS Med 5(10): e201. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050201

                Medicine

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