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Saturday, May 19, 2007

More journals will require OA for clinical drug trial data

Registry of Clinical Trials: BIREME announces that journals in LILACS and SciELO should follow the WHO orientations, Virtual Health Library Newsletter, May 18, 2007.  (Thanks to Abel Packer.)  Excerpt: 

The debate concerning transparency of clinical trials began several years ago, peaking in 2005, when the World Health Organization (WHO) defined a policy for their public registry (read full article here), which is supported by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME)....

The BIREME/PAHO/WHO participated in the discussions regarding this policy....

[T]his week BIREME is launching a recommendation to health-related scientific journal editors indexed at the Scientific Library Electronic Online (SciELO) and LILACS (Latin American and Caribbean Literature on Health Sciences)....

[T]he WHO has just launched a portal - WHO Clinical Trial Search Portal....

From the BIREME recommendation:

This is to inform all editors of health journals indexed in LILACS and SciELO databases that, starting in August 2007, BIREME will require that journals which publish randomized controlled trials and clinical trials include in the "Instructions for Authors" the recommendation for prior registration of all trials published in their journals and to require the correspondent identification number for accepted manuscripts....

BIREME suggests the following text to be included in the Instructions for Authors:

"Journal XXX follows the policies of the World Health Organization (WHO) and of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) for clinical trial registration, recognizing the importance of those initiatives for international dissemination of information on clinical research, in open access.  Accordingly, only articles of trials previously registered in one of the Clinical Trial Registries that meet WHO and ICMJE requirements will be accepted for publication, starting in 2007.  The list of registries accepted by WHO and ICMJE is available in ICMJE site.  The trial registration number should be published at the end of the abstract."

PS:  I wrote to BIREME for clarification and learned that, while it has no authority to require journals to change their editorial policies, it does have authority to decide which journals are indexed in LILACS and SciELO.  Its new document is a recommendation to all journals and a requirement for journals that wish to be indexed in LILACS and SciELO.