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February 10, 1993

Who Pays for Published Research?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, RI.

JAMA. 1993;269(6):781-782. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500060081035

Objective.  —To determine the extent of unfunded research published in major medical journals.

Design.  —Review of original research completed in the United States and published in 23 official journals of internal medicine and neurology during 1 month in 1991. Investigators were contacted to confirm lack of funding.

Main Outcome Measure.  —Percentage of unfunded, published original research.

Results.  —One hundred ninety-six articles were evaluated. There was at least one unfunded study in 78% of journals. Forty-five published studies (23%) were unfunded. Among those 45 studies, 7% were clinical trials, 9% were cohort studies, 18% were cross-sectional or case-control studies, 53% were case series, and 13% were surveys. Thirteen unfunded studies involved procedures that presumably were performed for research purposes and not as part of routine patient care.

Conclusions.  —Nearly one quarter of original research published in major medical journals was unfunded. Seven percent of published research involved direct clinical costs that were not accounted for by the investigators. These costs may have been passed on to study participants or third-party payers.(JAMA. 1993;269:781-782)