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The Role of Open Access in Reducing Waste in Medical Research

Abstract / Summary: 
'Twenty years ago an editorial by Doug Altman in the BMJ [1], 'The Scandal of Poor Medical Research', decried the poor design and reporting of research, stating that 'huge sums of money are spent annually on research that is seriously flawed through the use of inappropriate designs, unrepresentative samples, small samples, incorrect methods of analysis, and faulty interpretation'...   'The waste sounds bad, but the reality is worse. The estimate that 85% of research is wasted referred only to activities prior to the point of publication. Much waste clearly occurs after publication: from poor access, poor dissemination, and poor uptake of the findings of research. The development of open access to research [5] is important to reduce this post-publication waste. Poor access—including paaywalls, restrictions on re-publication and re-use, etc.—limits both researcher-to-researrcher and researcher-to-clinician communications...   'Solving the problems of pre-publication waste and post-publication access could hugely accelerate medical research...   'As the system encourages poor research,' wrote Altman in 1994 [1], 'it is the system that should be changed. We need less research, better research, and research done for the right reasons.'
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Paul Glasziou

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