By publishing protocols, BioMed Central is addressing a need identified by Iain Chalmers, director of the UK Cochrane Centre, and Doug Altman, of the ICRF Statistics Group in Oxford, for journals to play a more radical role in improving the standards of medical research. An editorial just published in BioMed Central (http://www.
Briefly, the advantages of protocol publication are that it:
- allows peer reviewers and readers to suggest improvements to draft protocols before a study begins.
- allows comparison between what was originally intended and what was actually done, which reduces the potential for data dredging or for unacknowledged or inappropriate retrospective revision of the study aims, design, or planned analyses.
- lets people know what studies are underway, so reducing wasteful duplication of research effort, making it easier for systematic reviewers to find studies, and boosting recruitment into trials.
- helps to promote prospective registration of trials.
To view examples of protocols published by BioMed Central visit: