JAMA August 8th 2012 Vol 308
I’m not sure how many psychiatrists subscribe to the Jiscmail list on Evidence Based-Health but one of the topics that comes up regularly there is the subject of publication bias. This is the phenomena that studies with positive findings are more likely to get published than studies that don’t show a difference.
The reason this matters is that the treatments we prescribe may not be as effective as we think. This has been a hot topic for antidepressants in recent years with some Systematic Reviews concluding that antidepressants are no better than placebos except for the most severe forms of depression. One way to get round this is to require all treatment studies to be Registered before they start so that at least we can see if a study has not been reported. However this only applies to studies about treatment and it takes some effort to find out what hasn’t been published.