The aim of medical research is to advance scientific knowledge and hence—directly
or indirectly—lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of
disease. Each research project should continue systematically from previous
research and feed into future research. Each project should contribute beneficially
to a slowly evolving body of research. A study should not mislead; otherwise
it could adversely affect clinical practice and future research. In 1994 I
observed that research papers commonly contain methodological errors, report
results selectively, and draw unjustified conclusions. Here I revisit the
topic and suggest how journal editors can help.
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