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Article
March 9, 1990

Minimizing the Three Stages of Publication Bias

Author Affiliations

From the Technology Assessment Group, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass (Dr Chalmers and Ms Frank); Boston (Mass) Veterans Administration Medical Center (Dr Chalmers); and Clinical Trials Unit, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY (Dr Chalmers and Ms Reitman).

From the Technology Assessment Group, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass (Dr Chalmers and Ms Frank); Boston (Mass) Veterans Administration Medical Center (Dr Chalmers); and Clinical Trials Unit, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY (Dr Chalmers and Ms Reitman).

JAMA. 1990;263(10):1392-1395. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440100104016
Abstract

Publication bias can be considered to have three stages: (1) Prepublication bias occurs in the performance of research, caused by ignorance, sloth, greed, or the double standard applied to clinical trials but not to clinical practice. (2) Publication bias refers to basing acceptance or rejection of a manuscript on whether it supports the treatment tested. Potentially biased reviewers are of equal concern. (3) Postpublication bias occurs in publishing interpretations, reviews, and meta-analyses of published clinical trials. Bias can be minimized by (1) insisting on high-quality research and thorough literature reviews, (2) eliminating the double standard concerning peer review and informed consent applied to clinical research and practice, (3) publishing legitimate trials regardless of their results, (4) requiring peer reviewers to acknowledge conflicts of interest, (5) replacing ordinary review articles with meta-analyses, and (6) requiring the authors of reviews to acknowledge possible conflicts of interest.

(JAMA. 1990;263:1392-1395)

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