AND MUST BE IMPROVED
WITH SIMPLE ACTIONS
Every year, around US$200 billion (£150 billion) is spent globally on health research. Meanwhile, millions of people volunteer their time to be participants in health studies. Despite all the resources that go into creating medical research, though, there is a glaring issue – almost all of that time and money achieves nothing. In fact, about 85% of all research is simply wasted.
The deep problems in medical research are increasingly recognised, but so far there has been little agreement as to how to improve matters. Some improvements, such as registering plans for research before carrying it out, have been achieved for clinical trials, but for most types of 'observational' research registration is still the exception rather than the rule. Even for clinical trials researchers do not always declare deviations from their planned objectives while basic study documents like protocols are often not shared.
For a detailed examination of these issues have a look at our paper Reducing bias and improving transparency in biomedical & health research.
We are an international collaboration established to advocate for three achievable demands that can be implemented to improve health research.
Our campaign has been featured in BMJ, the Conversation and the Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and we are supported by the charity Health Watch UK and the German Evidence Based Medicine Network
If you want to help to improve transparency and reduce the biases and waste in health research please take some time to read our declaration and if you agree then consider signing or getting involved in the campaign. You can also follow us on twitter (@TA_Declaration).
MANDATORY REGISTRATION OF INTERESTS
JOURNALS TO PROMOTE REGISTERED REPORTS
ALL PUBLICALLY FUNDED RESEARCH ON ACCESSIBLE REPOSITORIES
1) Mandatory registration of conflicts of interest
Conflicting interests don't always mean that research isn't valid, but we need to know what conflicts exist to put research in context and decide if findings may have been influenced by incentives to deliver particular results.
2) Journals’ adoption of Registered Reports
Registered Reports are a publication format whereby authors submit methods prior to data collection and analysis and, if these satisfy peer review, journals preliminarily commit to publication, regardless of whether the subsequently obtained results are statistically significant or “noteworthy.” They can help reduce bias to produce particular results and might reduce research hype ('spin').
3) Mandatory registration of publicly funded research
A great deal of research is funded by the public. Comprehensive documentation, such as protocols, analytic code, and, when possible, study data for all publicly funded research, should be made available on a repository affiliated to the World Health Organization. This will allow researchers and the public who fund research to verify it is reproducible.