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Research Letter
July 29, 2019

Assessment of Publication Trends of Systematic Reviews and Randomized Clinical Trials, 1995 to 2017

Author Affiliations
  • 1Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 2Cleveland Clinic Floyd D. Loop Alumni Library, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 3Grant Family Medicine, OhioHealth, Columbus, Ohio
JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 29, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.3013

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses (SRMAs) and randomized clinical trials (RCTs) are considered the most robust and reliable forms of evidence to guide clinical practice. Previous research has demonstrated year-over-year increases in the number of published RCTs between 1950 and 20071 as well as increases in the number of published SRMAs through 2016.2,3 The increase in SRMAs is needed to update cumulative evidence,2 although some investigators speculate that SRMAs may also serve as “easily publishable units or marketing tools.”2,3 Given this context, we sought to compare publication trends overall and across clinical topic areas among SRMAs and RCTs over the past 22 years.

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