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Submissions to Tobacco Control—the “ins” and “outs”
Tobacco Control publishes systematic reviews, meta-analyses and clinical trials. The complete and accurate reporting of these trials is crucial to establish the scientific evidence on which sound clinical decisions can be based. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials are the most methodologically rigorous types of evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions, particularly pharmacotherapy.1,2 They often form the foundation for practice guidelines, clinical decision support systems, drug formulary decisions and drug payment schemes. However, systematic reviews proceed under the assumption that a complete and representative sample of relevant studies is available for analysis.3 As access to relevant studies is often limited to published studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and, ultimately, practice guidelines and patient care, are particularly vulnerable to biases that may affect publication.
One type of publication bias—the publication of study results based on the direction and statistical significance of study findings—poses a serious challenge to the …
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