Bibliographic study showed improving methodology of meta-analyses published in leading journals 1993-2002

Gerber, Stefan; Tallon, Deborah; Trelle, Sven; Schneider, Martin; Jüni, Peter; Egger, Matthias (2007). Bibliographic study showed improving methodology of meta-analyses published in leading journals 1993-2002. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 60(8), pp. 773-80. New York, N.Y.: Elsevier 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2006.10.022

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OBJECTIVE: To assess the methodology of meta-analyses published in leading general and specialist medical journals over a 10-year period. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: Volumes 1993-2002 of four general medicine journals and four specialist journals were searched by hand for meta-analyses including at least five controlled trials. Characteristics were assessed using a standardized questionnaire. RESULTS: A total of 272 meta-analyses, which included a median of 11 trials (range 5-195), were assessed. Most (81%) were published in general medicine journals. The median (range) number of databases searched increased from 1 (1-9) in 1993/1994 to 3.5 (1-21) in 2001/2002, P<0.0001. The proportion of meta-analyses including searches by hand (10% in 1993/1994, 25% in 2001/2002, P=0.005), searches of the grey literature (29%, 51%, P=0.010 by chi-square test), and of trial registers (10%, 32%, P=0.025) also increased. Assessments of the quality of trials also became more common (45%, 70%, P=0.008), including whether allocation of patients to treatment groups had been concealed (24%, 60%, P=0.001). The methodological and reporting quality was consistently higher in general medicine compared to specialist journals. CONCLUSION: Many meta-analyses published in leading journals have important methodological limitations. The situation has improved in recent years but considerable room for further improvements remains.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Trelle, Sven; Schneider, Martin; Jüni, Peter and Egger, Matthias


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health










Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:52

Last Modified:

26 Jan 2015 19:48

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URI: (FactScience: 30418)

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