In the latest issue of the Bulletin of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, surgeons who have run clinical trials say “surgeons have a professional and ethical duty to ensure trial results are made available.” The surgeons point out that previous efforts to make registration and reporting of clinical trials a requirement, like the recommendations introduced by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors in 2005 and a US law in 2007, have been “widely ignored owing to inadequate or absent enforcement.” In a study published in The BMJ in 2014, the authors of the editorial showed that the results of a third of surgery clinical trials have not been published.

They suggest practical steps for different stakeholders to promote best practice. Funders could make trial reporting and data sharing a condition of support, ethics committees and academic journals should take a greater role in monitoring trial registration and reporting, and professional bodies could provide more guidance for trialists. They also say it is vital that patients are involved to promote transparency.

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