Specialist college training: a potential source of research wastage.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate/opinionResearch


The research literature has become flooded with papers describing poorly designed and poorly reported research that is unread and uncited. For example, Ioannidis recently estimated that only around 3% of systematic reviews were “decent and clinically useful”, with many being redundant (27%), fatally flawed (20%), or misleading (13%). An analysis of articles in cardiovascular journals found that 15% of articles were never cited and 46% had 5 or fewer citations. This results in a significant waste of research effort: first, in the production of poor and unused research; second, in the effort in the processes of peer review, publication, and dissemination.

This squandering of research effort takes many forms including failure to take adequate account of previous studies when planning new work, poorly formulated research questions, inadequate study designs, inefficient study conduct, incorrect analyses and failure to report results. Despite the efforts of journals and research grant agencies peer review continues to be of variable quality; prospective trial registration remains incomplete and reporting of trial results in registries is still uncommon.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe BMJ Opinion
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2020


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