Editors of major medical journals joined forces on Wednesday to make researchers and companies register all clinical trials when they begin so unflattering or unclear results cannot later be covered up. The 11 journals, including some of the most influential medical publications in the world, agreed not to publish any studies that were not registered when they began. "If you want to publish in our journals, this is what you'll do," said Dr. Catherine DeAngelis, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association. "We felt our quality was being diminished somewhat because we didn't have access to the information," DeAngelis added in a telephone interview. "Unfortunately, selective reporting of trials does occur, and it distorts the body of evidence available for clinical decision-making," the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors wrote in a commentary appearing in all of their publications. The decision has been brewing for several years but it came to a head with the discovery that certain antidepressants may make adolescents more likely to commit suicide. Some companies were accused of covering up studies that could have shown this earlier. Doctors and medical bodies that advise on how to treat patients do not make their decisions based on any single study, but on the basis of a body of research that has been done over many years. That is why it is important to have all possible information -- positive and negative, informs Reuters. According to the Herald Sun, editors at 11 international science journals have imposed a new policy that will result in the public release of negative medical research that pharmaceutical companies often prefer to hide. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors will require, as a condition for publication, that researchers register their studies in a public repository before undertaking clinical trials on volunteers. "Honest reporting begins with revealing the existence of all clinical studies, even those that reflect unfavourably on a research sponsor's product," the committee wrote in an editorial to appear simultaneously in its member journals. "Unfortunately, selective reporting of trials does occur, and it distorts the body of evidence available for clinical decision-making."
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