Outcome switching in clinical trials is a serious problem. Between October 2015 and January 2016, the COMPare team systematically checked every trial published in the top five medical journals, to see if they misreported their findings. We are now submitting the first set of findings from the project as an academic paper, summarising the quantitative results, and the themes of responses from journal editors and trialists in collaboration with a qualitative researcher. Prior to publication, cite our data and methods as per the reference at the bottom of this page. This is our workflow:
- We compared each clinical trial report with its protocol or registry entry. Some trials reported their outcomes perfectly. For the others, we counted how many of the outcomes pre-specified in the protocol or registry were never reported. We also counted how many new outcomes were silently added.
- When we detected unreported or added outcomes, we wrote a letter to the journal pointing them out. We tracked which journals published our letters – and which did not.
Here’s what we found.
On average, each trial reported just loading…% of its specified outcomes. And on average, each trial silently added loading… new outcomes.