A BMJ editorial published by D. Altman and D. Moher, two key leaders of the EQUATOR initiative, proposes that authors of research papers are asked to sign a declaration that their paper is not misleading.
The scientific community and the public at large deserve an accurate and complete record of research. However, there is considerable evidence that the research record is often manipulated for short term gain but at the risk of harm to patients. The medical research community needs to implement changes to ensure that readers obtain the truth about all research, especially reports of randomised trials, which hold a special place in answering what works best for patients.
Journal editors can help by asking authors to sign a declaration of transparency:
The lead author* affirms that this manuscript is an honest, accurate, and transparent account of the study being reported; that no important aspects of the study have been omitted; and that any discrepancies from the study as planned (and, if relevant, registered) have been explained.
*The manuscript’s guarantor.
The BMJ and BMJ Open are leading the way by implementing this policy immediately. Widespread endorsement and implementation of a publication transparency declaration is one way to help to get the maximum value from medical research. We encourage other journals to support the transparency declaration. Editors, please email Iveta Simera (firstname.lastname@example.org) when you introduce this policy and we will add you to the list of journals on the EQUATOR website (www.equator-network.org).
Reference: Altman DG, Moher D. Declaration of transparency for each research article. BMJ 2013;347:f4796 [free full text]