Publication bias happens when studies that are more exciting or report positive findings are more likely to be published. In partnership with colleagues at Warwick University, HSMC has recently completed a NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research Programme funded study to ascertain the extent of publication and other similar biases in health services research. The report is in its final stages of publication and there are currently three open access papers available, with more to follow:
Ayorinde AA, Williams I, Mannion R, Song F, Skyrybant M, Lilford RJ, et al. Publication and related bias in quantitative health services and delivery research: a multimethod study. Health Serv Deliv Res 2020;8(33)
Williams I, Ayorinde AA, Mannion R, et al. Stakeholder views on publication bias in health services research. J Health Serv Res Policy. 2020;25(3):162-171. doi:10.1177/1355819620902185
Ayorinde AA, Williams I, Mannion R, Song F, Skrybant M, Lilford RJ, et al. (2020) Assessment of publication bias and outcome reporting bias in systematic reviews of health services and delivery research: A meta-epidemiological study. PLoS ONE 15(1): e0227580. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227580
Ayorinde, A.A., Williams, I., Mannion, R. et al. Publication and related biases in health services research: a systematic review of empirical evidence. BMC Med Res Methodol 20, 137 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-020-01010-1
Overall, the study suggests the need for measures to address this hitherto under-addressed area of research and publishing practice.