A new initiative to bring to the forefront the issue of trial registration has just been launched, led by Ben Goldacre (who runs the Bad Science website and who is the author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma), Sense About Science, BMJ, James Lind Initiative and Centre for Evidence-based Medicine, Oxford. This topic is very close to the heart of PLOS Medicine and we are strong supporters of it – and moreover with the open access publishing model and policies of the PLOS journals are in a position to provide practical ways of implementing it.
Medical journals have been discussing and promising action on this issue for many years but as this initiative notes, now is the time to move beyond words to action.
The site is here and our statement of support is here and below.
PLOS strongly endorses Alltrials’ call for all trials to be registered and reported. It not only resonates with our core values but, moreover, at PLOS we provide specific, concrete ways that the call can be turned into action. As an open access publisher, PLOS was founded on the principle of increasing the availability of both papers reporting studies and the underlying data associated with studies and has strong policies on data availability. From the very beginning of medical publishing at PLOS, in PLOS Medicine in 2004, we have always insisted on the prospective registration of trials and that protocols for clinical trials are submitted with the trial paper and published alongside it. In addition, we have a specific commitment to publishing the results of so-called negative trials, particularly in our journal PLOS ONE, which does not select papers on impact, but only on objective measures such as whether the work is done to high scientific and ethical standards, whether the work is appropriately described, and whether the data support the conclusions.We therefore welcome this new initiative and call on other publishers and medical journals to develop ways to make universal registration and reporting a reality, rather than just an aspiration.