Issues in the Dissemination of Dental / Medical Research: Reporting Quality, Publication Bias and Open Access

Student thesis: Phd


Timely, effective and unrestricted dissemination of dental / medical research is critical for the translation of research findings into healthcare. During the past 30 years, problems in the reporting, publication and accessibility of medical research, as well as the resulting avoidable waste of resources, have gained increasing attention from researchers and other stakeholders. However, many gaps still remain in the literature. The aims of this thesis were to provide more insights into three aspects of the dental / medical research dissemination (reporting quality, publication bias and open access), and offer recommendations for further improvements. Five cross-sectional studies and one systematic review were carried out: (1) A survey of the instructions and editors-in-chief (EICs) of 109 dental journals regarding reporting guideline (RG) usage; (2) An assessment of the reporting of randomised controlled trial (RCT) abstracts (n=138) presented at the European Orthodontic Society (EOS) congresses; (3) A comparison of the methodology reporting of highly structured (HS) and IMRaD RCT abstracts (n=341); (4) A systematic review of studies on the publication fate of abstracts presented at dental conferences (10,365 abstracts from 16 studies); (5) A study regarding open access (OA) to recently published journal articles in dentistry (n=908); and (6) A study regarding OA to recent journal articles in oncology (n=912). Mainly, it was found that: (1) RGs were endorsed in the instructions of 51% dental journals, and known by 74% dental journal EICs; (2) On average, RCT abstracts presented at the EOS congresses reported less than 4.5 out of the 17 CONSORT for Abstracts checklist items; (3) The methodology reporting score (range, 0 to 9) of HS RCT abstracts were 0.5 (95% confidence interval, 0.1 to 1.0) higher than those in IMRaD; (4) Only 30% (95% confidence interval, 23% to 37%) of abstracts presented at dental conferences were published in full; (5) 46% of recent journal articles in dentistry were freely available online, with no evidence of a citation advantage associated with OA; and (6) 58% of recent journal articles in oncology were OA, which received significantly more citations than those non-OA articles. Joint efforts need to be made by researchers, reviewers, editors and other stakeholders to further improve the reporting, publication and accessibility of dental / medical studies, and thereby facilitate the translation of good research findings and reduce avoidable research waste.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorHelen Worthington (Supervisor), Tanya Walsh (Supervisor) & Anne-Marie Glenny (Supervisor)

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