A discussion by World Association of Medical Editors on self-plagiarism prompted Iain Chalmers, one of the Cochrane pioneers at Oxford University, to remind us of that there are more important issues to contend with. He wrote: “Last week I was at a 2-day meeting hosted by the EQUATOR Network and the German Cochrane Centre. The standard of presentations was excellent,
culminating in a superb final lecture by John Ioannidis. I left Freiburg thinking about the mass of empirical evidence showing the desperate current problems within medical research – failure to review what is known already before embarking on new research, addressing irrelevant
questions using irrelevant outcome measures, failure to replicate initial observations, biased failure to publish research, the often unusable nature of reports of research that do get published, undeclared conflicts of interests, etc, etc).” I am in complete agreement with Professor Chalmers, especially wit respect to the first point. I urge researchers to make every effort to thoroughly review the literature — not just from their own part of the world (Europe, United States) but world wide – before initiating new studies and certainly before submitting a paper for publication.
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