Who cares about trials registration?
A paper recently appeared in Trials (an open-access journal published by BioMed Central) looking at whether investigators carrying out trials are aware of and agree with current international standards on trials registration. Encouragingly, the majority of investigators in the survey supported registration of all 20 items in the dataset recommended by the World Health Organization, although it is disappointing that even a tiny number of indviduals were opposed to upfront registration of any data at all!
Our experience at PLoS Medicine and PLoS ONE has been that in general, although most researchers are aware of the need for trials registration, we still receive a disturbingly large number of submissions reporting trials which were not registered before participants were enrolled. We don’t want bias to creep into the evidence base relating to benefits and harms of interventions, so it’s essential that investigators register their trials at the earliest possible stage. This will also ensure that researchers don’t experience problems trying to publish their results later on.
Contact us, or comment via this blog, if you have any questions about the trials registration policy at PLoS Medicine or the other PLoS journals (more information is available via our Author Guidelines).