In September 2004, the members of the International Committee of Medical
Journal Editors (ICMJE) published a joint editorial aimed at promoting registration
of all clinical trials.1 We stated that we
will consider a trial for publication only if it has been registered before
the enrollment of the first patient. This policy applies to trials that start
recruiting on or after July 1, 2005. Because many ongoing trials were not
registered at inception, we will consider for publication ongoing trials that
are registered before September 13, 2005. Our goal then and now is to foster
a comprehensive, publicly available database of clinical trials. A complete
registry of trials would be a fitting way to thank the thousands of participants
who have placed themselves at risk by volunteering for clinical trials. They
deserve to know that the information that accrues from their altruism is part
of the public record, where it is available to guide decisions about patient
care, and deserve to know that decisions about their care rest on all of the
evidence, not just the trials that authors decided to report and that journal
editors decided to publish.
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