Improving medical research in the United Kingdom.
Bradley SH., DeVito NJ., Lloyd KE., Logullo P., Butler JE.
Poor quality medical research causes serious harms by misleading healthcare professionals and policymakers, decreasing trust in science and medicine, and wasting public funds. Here we outline underlying problems including insufficient transparency, dysfunctional incentives, and reporting biases. We make the following recommendations to address these problems: Journals and funders should ensure authors fulfil their obligation to share detailed study protocols, analytical code, and (as far as possible) research data. Funders and journals should incentivise uptake of registered reports and establish funding pathways which integrate evaluation of funding proposals with initial peer review of registered reports. A mandatory national register of interests for all those who are involved in medical research in the UK should be established, with an expectation that individuals maintain the accuracy of their declarations and regularly update them. Funders and institutions should stop using metrics such as citations and journal's impact factor to assess research and researchers and instead evaluate based on quality, reproducibility, and societal value. Employers and non-academic training programmes for health professionals (clinicians hired for patient care, not to do research) should not select based on number of research publications. Promotions based on publication should be restricted to those hired to do research.