Poor-quality medical research - What can journals do?

Cancer Research UK/NHS Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Institute of Health Sciences, Old Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LF, England.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 30.39). 07/2002; 287(21):2765-7. DOI: 10.1001/jama.287.21.2765
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of medical research is to advance scientific knowledge and hence--directly or indirectly--lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of disease. Each research project should continue systematically from previous research and feed into future research. Each project should contribute beneficially to a slowly evolving body of research. A study should not mislead; otherwise it could adversely affect clinical practice and future research. In 1994 I observed that research papers commonly contain methodological errors, report results selectively, and draw unjustified conclusions. Here I revisit the topic and suggest how journal editors can help.

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