What would it take to make unregistered or retrospectively registered clinical trials a thing of the past? In an opinion piece run by the BMJ in February 2017, Elizabeth Loder, its head of research, proposed treating unregistered trials as the research equivalent of medical ‘Never Events’, defined as “particularly shocking medical errors (such as wrong-site surgery) that should never occur.”
Some choice extracts from her piece:
“Funders and ethical approval bodies might make full payment or final approval of trials contingent on prospective registration. Journal editors should continue to refuse to publish such studies and notify institutional or company authorities of the problem when possible. (…) Institutional discipline could take many forms, including additional oversight of subsequent research projects or requiring that such omissions be considered in decisions about academic promotion.”
Elizabeth Loder’s post can be found here. It contains numerous links to relevant related research, including a trial registration audit she was personally involved in.
BioMed Central in 2016 published an interesting piece defending their decision to continue publishing retrospectively registered trials.