Opinions and potential solutions regarding dissemination bias from funding agencies of biomedical research in Europe

Hector Pardo-Hernandez, Gerard Urrútia, Joerg J. Meerpohl, Ana Marušić, Elizabeth Wager, Xavier Bonfill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Rationale, aims, and objectives: Several studies have found that about half of research results from clinical trials are never published. Until now, there has been little information on the views that funding agencies of biomedical research in Europe have regarding this issue and its possible solutions. Methods: An electronic survey was conducted among funding agencies from 34 European countries. Participants were asked about their opinions, policies, and potential solutions regarding dissemination bias. On the basis of the results of this survey and the input of the OPEN Consortium and of representatives of stakeholder groups in the knowledge generation process, we formulated recommendations for funding agencies to reduce dissemination bias. Results: We received responses from 64 funding agencies of biomedical medicine from most European countries, out of 245 that were contacted (26%). Of these, 56 funded research at the national and/or international level and were therefore eligible to participate. Policies encouraging publication increased over time: 33 (58.9%) of agencies enforced them in 2005 compared to 38 (67.6%) in 2012. However, only 13 (23.2%) had knowledge of the publications related to research funded in 2005, 23 (41.1%) were able to provide only an estimate, and 20 (35.7%) did not know at all. Regarding recommendations to control dissemination bias, we propose that funding agencies request the dissemination of research results irrespective of the direction of findings. We also call for measures that allow evaluating funded projects past the contractual period and until dissemination of results. Funding agencies should create publicly accessible databases with information on funded projects and dissemination efforts. Conclusion: Despite having policies to encourage publication of results, most funding agencies fail to implement such measures or to ensure compliance. We propose recommendations that could be incorporated in the blueprint of calls for proposals and contracts agreed upon by funding agencies and grant recipients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-79
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Keywords

  • clinical trials
  • dissemination bias
  • evaluation
  • medical ethics
  • publication bias
  • the OPEN Project

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