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JAMA. 2002 Jun 5;287(21):2765-7.

Poor-quality medical research: what can journals do?

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Cancer Research UK/NHS Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Institute of Health Sciences, Old Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LF, England.


The aim of medical research is to advance scientific knowledge and hence--directly or indirectly--lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of disease. Each research project should continue systematically from previous research and feed into future research. Each project should contribute beneficially to a slowly evolving body of research. A study should not mislead; otherwise it could adversely affect clinical practice and future research. In 1994 I observed that research papers commonly contain methodological errors, report results selectively, and draw unjustified conclusions. Here I revisit the topic and suggest how journal editors can help.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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