Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: Drs Dickersin and Rennie1 stated that a comprehensive register of clinical
trials would address the problem of publication bias. However, they omitted
an important aspect of this problem. Every researcher has had the experience
of a manuscript being rejected. This sometimes occurs with well-designed and
well-executed studies with good data simply because the results were not considered
to be newsworthy by journal editors. Although this is a hazard of academic
medicine, it nevertheless should be noted that journals as well as researchers
are responsible for publication bias. Therefore, if a future researcher or
patient looking in a registry finds a clinical trial that otherwise seemed
to have disappeared, the results may have been very important and close to
the researcher's heart, but not to an editorial board of a medical journal.
Leviton I. Registering Clinical Trials. JAMA. 2003;290(19):2545. doi:10.1001/jama.290.19.2545-a