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Trials. 2007 Mar 6;8:9.

Application and investigation of a bound for outcome reporting bias.

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Centre for Medical Statistics and Health Evaluation, Shelley's Cottage, Brownlow Street, University of Liverpool, L69 3GS, UK.



Direct empirical evidence for the existence of outcome reporting bias is accumulating and this source of bias is recognised as a potential threat to the validity of meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials.


A method for calculating the maximum bias in a meta-analysis due to publication bias is adapted for the setting where within-study selective non-reporting of outcomes is suspected, and compared to the alternative approach of missing data imputation. The properties of both methods are investigated in realistic small sample situations.


The results suggest that the adapted Copas and Jackson approach is the preferred method for reviewers to apply as an initial assessment of robustness to within-study selective non-reporting.


The Copas and Jackson approach is a useful method for systematic reviewers to apply to assess robustness to outcome reporting bias.

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