Normal Limits

"Chance is the very guide of life"

"In practical medicine the facts are far too few for them to enter into the calculus of probabilities... in applied medicine we are always concerned with the individual" -- S. D. Poisson

October 30, 2005

New journal: Public Library of Science Clinical Trials

Public Library of Science has a new journal for clinical trials:
Each published paper in PLoS Clinical Trials will be linked to its corresponding entry in the relevant registry. PLoS is collaborating with Global Trial Bank (GTB), a non�profit subsidiary of the American Medical Informatics Association, to ensure that trial results are captured and stored in a computer�readable, standardized format.

According to the editors,
Publication decisions will not be affected by the direction of results, size or perceived importance of the trial.

This should help mitigate publication bias.
What does this mean for researchers? Manuscripts will have to follow the CONSORT structure:
We intend to go beyond CONSORT (a tool developed to improve the quality of reporting of randomized trials; http://www.consort-statement.org/), asking authors to not only submit a CONSORT checklist and flow diagram, but also to organize their papers according to the CONSORT structure. Readers will be able to quickly identify where in the paper they need to look to find out about a particular aspect of the design.

Interestingly, peer review will also be a bit atypical:
Rather than making recommendations about acceptance or rejection, peer reviewers of papers submitted to PLoS Clinical Trials will be asked to focus on improving the quality and transparency of trial reporting. Each trial report will be accompanied by an editorial summary of its strengths and weaknesses, including what it adds to current scientific knowledge. Readers will have the opportunity to post comments.

I really like this idea. Perhaps PoLS Clinical Trials will one day set the standard for publishable RCTs?
(via Microarray and Bioinformatics Blog)

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