How often are outcomes switched in clinical trials? And why does it matter?

Kamal R. Mahtani and Ben Goldacre, part of the COMPare project, write about the prevalence of outcome switching and why it matters.

We have been monitoring outcome switching in five top journals, and writing letters to correct the record wherever we have found misreporting. You can read more about our project herehere and here. One peculiar response has been: “you’ve found so much misreporting, in so many trials! Your findings cannot be credible!”. This argument seems to have been used, for example, by Annals in their responses here and here (comment #2) saying they will not engage with our letters pointing out their misreporting.

So are our findings exceptional? Are we the only people to have found a problem? No. The phenomenon of academic journals permitting outcome switching has been studied at length….read more

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