publication bias


Summary: The influence of study results on the chances of publication and the tendency of investigators, reviewers, and editors to submit or accept manuscripts for publication based on the direction or strength of the study findings. Publication bias has an impact on the interpretation of clinical trials and meta-analyses. Bias can be minimized by insistence by editors on high-quality research, thorough literature reviews, acknowledgement of conflicts of interest, modification of peer review practices, etc.

Top Publications

  1. Kicinski M. Publication bias in recent meta-analyses. PLoS ONE. 2013;8:e81823 pubmed publisher
    ..are often characterized by larger effects in published meta-analyses, which can be possibly explained by publication bias. We investigated the association between the statistical significance of the results and the probability of ..
  2. Dwan K, Gamble C, Williamson P, Kirkham J. Systematic review of the empirical evidence of study publication bias and outcome reporting bias - an updated review. PLoS ONE. 2013;8:e66844 pubmed publisher
    ..Study publication bias and outcome reporting bias have been recognised as a potential threat to the validity of meta-analysis and ..
  3. Mueller K, Meerpohl J, Briel M, Antes G, von Elm E, Lang B, et al. Detecting, quantifying and adjusting for publication bias in meta-analyses: protocol of a systematic review on methods. Syst Rev. 2013;2:60 pubmed publisher
    ..findings are not published, especially in case of 'negative' results - a phenomenon widely recognized as publication bias. Different methods of detecting, quantifying and adjusting for publication bias in meta-analyses have been ..
  4. van Lent M, Overbeke J, Out H. Recommendations for a uniform assessment of publication bias related to funding source. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2013;13:120 pubmed publisher
    Numerous studies on publication bias in clinical drug research have been undertaken, particularly on the association between sponsorship and favourable outcomes...
  5. Wager E, Williams P. "Hardly worth the effort"? Medical journals' policies and their editors' and publishers' views on trial registration and publication bias: quantitative and qualitative study. BMJ. 2013;347:f5248 pubmed publisher
    ..understand their reasons for adopting (or not adopting) such policies and other measures designed to reduce publication bias. Quantitative study of journals' instructions to authors (in June 2012) and qualitative study of editors' and ..
  6. Song Q, Chen P, Liu Q. Role of the APOE ?2/?3/?4 polymorphism in the development of primary open-angle glaucoma: evidence from a comprehensive meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 2013;8:e82347 pubmed publisher
    ..The sensitivity analysis confirmed the stability and reliability of the findings. There was no risk of publication bias. Our meta-analysis provides strong evidence that the APOE ?2/?3/?4 polymorphism is not associated with POAG ..
  7. Wang L, Yin F, Xu X, Hu X, Zhao D. X-ray repair cross-complementing group 1 (XRCC1) genetic polymorphisms and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e34897 pubmed publisher
    ..For the other two XRCC1 polymorphisms, no association with childhood ALL risk was found. The meta-analysis results suggested that XRCC1 Arg399Gln polymorphism might be associated with elevated childhood ALL risk among Asian population. ..
  8. Korevaar D, Hooft L, ter Riet G. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of preclinical studies: publication bias in laboratory animal experiments. Lab Anim. 2011;45:225-30 pubmed publisher
    ..They found 46 LAE meta-analyses (MAs), often of poor quality. Six of these 46 MAs tried to assess publication bias. Publication bias is the phenomenon of an experiment's results determining its likelihood of publication, ..
  9. Schimmack U. The ironic effect of significant results on the credibility of multiple-study articles. Psychol Methods. 2012;17:551-66 pubmed publisher
    ..It is also important to publish replication studies with nonsignificant results if these studies have high power to replicate a published finding. ..

Scientific Experts

More Information


  1. Lundh A, Krogsbøll L, Gøtzsche P. Sponsors' participation in conduct and reporting of industry trials: a descriptive study. Trials. 2012;13:146 pubmed publisher
  2. Francis G. Publication bias and the failure of replication in experimental psychology. Psychon Bull Rev. 2012;19:975-91 pubmed publisher
    ..Rather than strengthen confidence in an effect, too much successful replication actually indicates publication bias, which invalidates entire sets of experimental findings...
  3. Turner E. Publication bias, with a focus on psychiatry: causes and solutions. CNS Drugs. 2013;27:457-68 pubmed publisher
    b>Publication bias undermines the integrity of the evidence base by inflating apparent drug efficacy and minimizing drug harms, thus skewing the risk-benefit ratio...
  4. Wang J, Bi J, Liu X, Li K, Di J, Wang B. Has-miR-146a polymorphism (rs2910164) and cancer risk: a meta-analysis of 19 case-control studies. Mol Biol Rep. 2012;39:4571-9 pubmed publisher
    ..However, further well-designed studies with large sample size will be necessary to validate the risk identified in the current meta-analysis. ..
  5. Howland R. Publication bias and outcome reporting bias: agomelatine as a case example. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2011;49:11-4 pubmed publisher
    b>Publication bias and outcome reporting bias contribute to distorted perceptions of drug efficacy and the underreporting of adverse events...
  6. Guyatt G, Oxman A, Montori V, Vist G, Kunz R, Brozek J, et al. GRADE guidelines: 5. Rating the quality of evidence--publication bias. J Clin Epidemiol. 2011;64:1277-82 pubmed publisher low-quality evidence, but both can be rated down if a body of evidence is associated with a high risk of publication bias. Even when individual studies included in best-evidence summaries have a low risk of bias, publication bias ..
  7. Paulson K, Saeed M, MILLS J, Cuvelier G, Kumar R, Raymond C, et al. Publication bias is present in blood and marrow transplantation: an analysis of abstracts at an international meeting. Blood. 2011;118:6698-701 pubmed publisher
    b>Publication bias is the preferential publication of research with positive results, and is a threat to the validity of medical literature...
  8. Matthews G, Dumville J, Hewitt C, Torgerson D. Retrospective cohort study highlighted outcome reporting bias in UK publicly funded trials. J Clin Epidemiol. 2011;64:1317-24 pubmed publisher
    ..63; P=0.10). Among journal-published trials, there were a greater proportion of statistically significant findings included in the journal reports compared with those in the HTA monographs. ..
  9. HART B, Lundh A, Bero L. Effect of reporting bias on meta-analyses of drug trials: reanalysis of meta-analyses. BMJ. 2012;344:d7202 pubmed publisher
    ..Unpublished FDA trial outcome data should be available and included in meta-analysis. Making these data easily accessible is particularly important because the effects of including unpublished data vary. ..
  10. Siddiqi N. Publication bias in epidemiological studies. Cent Eur J Public Health. 2011;19:118-20 pubmed
    Communication of research findings is the utmost responsibility of all scientists. Publication bias occurs if scientific studies with negative or null results fail to get published...
  11. Ter Riet G, Korevaar D, Leenaars M, Sterk P, Van Noorden C, Bouter L, et al. Publication bias in laboratory animal research: a survey on magnitude, drivers, consequences and potential solutions. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e43404 pubmed publisher
    b>Publication bias jeopardizes evidence-based medicine, mainly through biased literature syntheses. Publication bias may also affect laboratory animal research, but evidence is scarce...
  12. Zhang T, Lou J, Zhong R, Wu J, Zou L, Sun Y, et al. Genetic variants in the folate pathway and the risk of neural tube defects: a meta-analysis of the published literature. PLoS ONE. 2013;8:e59570 pubmed publisher
    ..However, other variants involved in folate pathway do not demonstrate any evidence for a significant marginal association on susceptibility to NTDs. ..
  13. Trinquart L, Abbé A, Ravaud P. Impact of reporting bias in network meta-analysis of antidepressant placebo-controlled trials. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e35219 pubmed publisher
    ..The reporting bias effect in NMAs may differ from that in classical meta-analyses in that reporting bias affecting only one drug may affect the ranking of all drugs. ..
  14. Kirkham J, Riley R, Williamson P. A multivariate meta-analysis approach for reducing the impact of outcome reporting bias in systematic reviews. Stat Med. 2012;31:2179-95 pubmed publisher
    ..We also examine the use of the Pearson correlation as a novel approach for dealing with missing within-study correlations, and provide an extension to bivariate random-effects models that reduce ORB in the presence of heterogeneity. ..
  15. Turner E, Knoepflmacher D, Shapley L. Publication bias in antipsychotic trials: an analysis of efficacy comparing the published literature to the US Food and Drug Administration database. PLoS Med. 2012;9:e1001189 pubmed publisher
    b>Publication bias compromises the validity of evidence-based medicine, yet a growing body of research shows that this problem is widespread. Efficacy data from drug regulatory agencies, e.g...
  16. Pan X, Yang W, Xu G, Bai P, Qin H, Zhang L, et al. The association between MLH1 -93 G>A polymorphism of DNA mismatch repair and cancer susceptibility: a meta-analysis. Mutagenesis. 2011;26:667-73 pubmed publisher
    ..On the conservative standpoint, well-designed population-based studies with larger sample size in different ethnic groups should be performed to further confirm these results. ..
  17. Strech D. Normative arguments and new solutions for the unbiased registration and publication of clinical trials. J Clin Epidemiol. 2012;65:276-81 pubmed publisher
    ..For evaluation purposes, the field needs better standards for study protocols. ..
  18. Suñé P, Suñé J, Montoro J. Positive outcomes influence the rate and time to publication, but not the impact factor of publications of clinical trial results. PLoS ONE. 2013;8:e54583 pubmed publisher
    b>Publication bias may affect the validity of evidence based medical decisions...
  19. Francis G. Too good to be true: publication bias in two prominent studies from experimental psychology. Psychon Bull Rev. 2012;19:151-6 pubmed publisher
    ..the final arbiter of phenomena in science, but replication is undermined when there is evidence for publication bias. Evidence for publication bias in a set of experiments can be found when the observed number of rejections of ..
  20. de Oliveira G, Chang R, Kendall M, Fitzgerald P, McCarthy R. Publication bias in the anesthesiology literature. Anesth Analg. 2012;114:1042-8 pubmed publisher
    b>Publication bias occurs because positive finding studies are more likely to be published. The dearth of studies of negative or equivalence findings can erroneously affect future research and potentially clinical care of patients...
  21. Lang J, Song X, Cheng J, Zhao S, Fan J. Association of GSTP1 Ile105Val polymorphism and risk of head and neck cancers: a meta-analysis of 28 case-control studies. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e48132 pubmed publisher
    ..Publication year was identified as the main cause of heterogeneity. This meta-analysis does not support a significant association between the GSTP1 Ile105Val polymorphism and risk of HNC. ..
  22. Portalupi S, von Elm E, Schmucker C, Lang B, Motschall E, Schwarzer G, et al. Protocol for a systematic review on the extent of non-publication of research studies and associated study characteristics. Syst Rev. 2013;2:2 pubmed publisher
    ..that non-published studies often have different results than those that are published, a phenomenon known as publication bias. When results are not published, or are published selectively based on the direction or the strength of the ..
  23. Xu W, Peng H, Zhou M, Zhang M, Li B, Pan H, et al. Association of RANTES and MBL gene polymorphisms with systemic lupus erythematosus: a meta-analysis. Mol Biol Rep. 2013;40:941-8 pubmed publisher
    ..In summary, the present study suggests that the RANTES-28, -403 polymorphisms do not associate with SLE, but the MBL2 A/O polymorphism might associate with SLE. ..
  24. Vawdrey D, Hripcsak G. Publication bias in clinical trials of electronic health records. J Biomed Inform. 2013;46:139-41 pubmed publisher
    To measure the rate of non-publication and assess possible publication bias in clinical trials of electronic health records. We searched ClinicalTrials...
  25. Müller K, Briel M, D Amario A, Kleijnen J, Marusic A, Wager E, et al. Defining publication bias: protocol for a systematic review of highly cited articles and proposal for a new framework. Syst Rev. 2013;2:34 pubmed publisher
    Selective publication of studies, which is commonly called publication bias, is widely recognized...
  26. Wang Z, Cao Y, Jiang C, Yang G, Wu J, Ding Y. Lack of association of two common polymorphisms rs2910164 and rs11614913 with susceptibility to hepatocellular carcinoma: a meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e40039 pubmed publisher
    ..This meta-analysis suggests that two common SNPs rs2910164 and rs11614913 are not associated with the risk of HCC. Well-designed studies with larger sample size and more ethnic groups are required to further validate the results. ..
  27. Zhao E, Cui D, Yuan L, Lu W. MDM2 SNP309 polymorphism and breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Mol Biol Rep. 2012;39:3471-7 pubmed publisher
    ..TT (OR = 1.26, 95% CI = 0.84-1.87). Our meta-analysis suggests that MDM2 SNP309 polymorphism may increase the risk to breast cancer in Asian and African population. ..
  28. Ferguson C, Brannick M. Publication bias in psychological science: prevalence, methods for identifying and controlling, and implications for the use of meta-analyses. Psychol Methods. 2012;17:120-8 pubmed publisher
    The issue of publication bias in psychological science is one that has remained difficult to address despite decades of discussion and debate...
  29. Qiu L, Wang Y, Xia Z, Xi B, Mao C, Wang J, et al. miR-196a2 C allele is a low-penetrant risk factor for cancer development. Cytokine. 2011;56:589-92 pubmed publisher
    ..TT: OR=1.19, 95% CI=1.06-1.35; dominant model: OR=1.13, 95% CI=1.01-1.25). Despite some limitations, this meta-analysis suggests that the miR-196a2 C allele is a low-penetrant risk factor for cancer development. ..
  30. Mavridis D, Sutton A, Cipriani A, Salanti G. A fully Bayesian application of the Copas selection model for publication bias extended to network meta-analysis. Stat Med. 2013;32:51-66 pubmed publisher
    The Copas parametric model is aimed at exploring the potential impact of publication bias via sensitivity analysis, by making assumptions regarding the probability of publication of individual studies related to the standard error of ..
  31. Xin W, Wei W, Li X. Effects of fish oil supplementation on inflammatory markers in chronic heart failure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2012;12:77 pubmed publisher
    ..Further large-scale and adequately powered clinical trials are needed to confirm these effects. ..
  32. Zheng X, Wang L, Zhu Y, Guan Q, Li H, Xiong Z, et al. The SNP rs961253 in 20p12.3 is associated with colorectal cancer risk: a case-control study and a meta-analysis of the published literature. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e34625 pubmed publisher
    ..The results from our study and the meta-analysis provided firm evidence that rs961253 significantly contributed to CRC risk in both Asian and European population. ..
  33. Sun J, Zhang C, Zhang Z, Dong Y, Zhang A, Wang Z, et al. Association between XRCC1 gene polymorphisms and risk of glioma development: a meta-analysis. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012;13:4783-8 pubmed
    ..Fixed or random effect models were selected based on the heterogeneity test. Publication bias was estimated using Begg's funnel plots and Egger's regression test...
  34. Niemeyer H, Musch J, Pietrowsky R. Publication bias in meta-analyses of the efficacy of psychotherapeutic interventions for depression. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2013;81:58-74 pubmed publisher
    ..whether systematic reviews investigating psychotherapeutic interventions for depression are affected by publication bias. Only homogeneous data sets were included, as heterogeneous data sets can distort statistical tests of ..
  35. Niemeyer H, Musch J, Pietrowsky R. Publication bias in meta-analyses of the efficacy of psychotherapeutic interventions for schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2012;138:103-12 pubmed publisher
    Meta-analyses are prone to publication bias, the problem of selective publication of studies with positive results...
  36. Rothstein H, Bushman B. Publication bias in psychological science: comment on Ferguson and Brannick (2012). Psychol Methods. 2012;17:129-36 pubmed publisher
    ..are more likely to be published than are studies reporting nonsignificant results--a phenomenon called publication bias. Publication bias in meta-analytic reviews should be identified and reduced when possible...
  37. Lian H, Wang L, Zhang J. Increased risk of breast cancer associated with CC genotype of Has-miR-146a Rs2910164 polymorphism in Europeans. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e31615 pubmed publisher
    ..GC+GG: OR?=?1.31, 95%CI?=?1.05-1.65, P(heterpgeneity)?=?0.839, P?=?0.019). No publication bias was found in the present study...
  38. Ahmed I, Sutton A, Riley R. Assessment of publication bias, selection bias, and unavailable data in meta-analyses using individual participant data: a database survey. BMJ. 2012;344:d7762 pubmed publisher
    To examine the potential for publication bias, data availability bias, and reviewer selection bias in recently published meta-analyses that use individual participant data and to investigate whether authors of such meta-analyses seemed ..
  39. Smulders Y. A two-step manuscript submission process can reduce publication bias. J Clin Epidemiol. 2013;66:946-7 pubmed publisher
    ..Several solutions to this problem of publication bias have been discussed or implemented, but none seem to be very effective...
  40. Yuan J, Shyamsunder N, Barao V, Lee D, Sukotjo C. Publication bias in five dental implant journals: an observation from 2005 to 2009. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants. 2011;26:1024-32 pubmed
    This study evaluated possible publication bias and its related factors in implant-related research over time...
  41. Zhang B, Zhu W, Yang P, Liu T, Jiang M, He Z, et al. Cigarette smoking and p16INK4? gene promoter hypermethylation in non-small cell lung carcinoma patients: a meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 2011;6:e28882 pubmed publisher
    ..In the stratified analyses, the association was stronger in Asian patients and in the studies with larger sample sizes. Cigarette smoking is positively correlated to p16(INK4?) gene hypermethylation in NSCLC patients. ..
  42. Qiu L, He J, Wang M, Zhang R, Shi T, Zhu M, et al. The association between common genetic variant of microRNA-146a and cancer susceptibility. Cytokine. 2011;56:695-8 pubmed publisher
    ..Despite some limitations, this meta-analysis suggests that the miR-146a G allele is a low-penetrant risk factor for papillary thyroid carcinoma development. ..
  43. Xie C, Yao M, Liu J, Xiong L. A meta-analysis of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-6, and interleukin-10 in preeclampsia. Cytokine. 2011;56:550-9 pubmed publisher
    ..Our findings strengthen the clinical evidence that PE is accompanied by exaggerated inflammatory responses, but do not support TNF-?-308G/A, IL-6-174G/C, and IL-10-1082A/G as candidate susceptibility loci in PE. ..
  44. Xue H, Su J, Sun K, Xie W, Wang H. Glutathione S-transferase M1 and T1 gene polymorphism and COPD risk in smokers: an updated analysis. Mol Biol Rep. 2012;39:5033-42 pubmed publisher
    ..The GSTM1/GSTT1 null genotype is a significant risk factor for developing COPD in Asian smokers. The GSTT1 null genotype, however, was not associated with COPD. ..
  45. Xie T, Wang Z, Zhang J, Liu H. X-ray repair cross-complementing group 1 polymorphisms and hepatocellular carcinoma: a meta-analysis. World J Gastroenterol. 2012;18:4207-14 pubmed publisher
    ..hypothesis test did not reveal any heterogeneity, and Begg's and Egger's tests did not find any obvious publication bias. The XRCC1 Arg194Trp and Arg399Gln polymorphisms are not associated with HCC risk...
  46. Briel M, Müller K, Meerpohl J, von Elm E, Lang B, Motschall E, et al. Publication bias in animal research: a systematic review protocol. Syst Rev. 2013;2:23 pubmed publisher
    ..b>Publication bias is one of the major threats of validity in systematic reviews and meta-analyses...
  47. Goodyear Smith F, Van Driel M, Arroll B, Del Mar C. Analysis of decisions made in meta-analyses of depression screening and the risk of confirmation bias: a case study. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2012;12:76 pubmed publisher
    ..Authors should be required to declare a priori any strongly held prior beliefs within their hypotheses, before embarking on systematic reviews. ..
  48. Zhang J, Zeng X, Lei J, Tang Y, Yang J. No association between XRCC1 gene Arg194Trp polymorphism and risk of lung cancer: evidence based on an updated cumulative meta-analysis. Tumour Biol. 2014;35:5629-35 pubmed publisher
    ..The sensitivity and subgroups analyses showed that the results were robust and not affected by any single study with no publication bias. Relevant studies might not be needed for supporting these results.
  49. Wang H, Zhang K, Qin H, Yang L, Zhang L, Cao Y. Association Between PARP1 Single Nucleotide Polymorphism and Brain Tumors. Mol Neurobiol. 2016;53:2083-9 pubmed publisher
    ..96; OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.74-0.92; OR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.76-0.99, respectively). This meta-analysis suggests that PARP1 rs1136410 T>C may play a significant role in the protection against the development of brain tumors and glioma. ..
  50. Abreu G, Barufaldi L, Bloch K, Szklo M. A Systematic Review on Sleep Duration and Dyslipidemia in Adolescents: Understanding Inconsistencies. Arq Bras Cardiol. 2015;105:418-25 pubmed publisher
  51. Elmi Sarabi M, Deschamps A, Delisle S, Ased H, Haddad F, Lamarche Y, et al. Aerosolized Vasodilators for the Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension in Cardiac Surgical Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Anesth Analg. 2017;125:393-402 pubmed publisher
    ..This review does not support any benefit compared to placebo on major outcomes. Further investigation is warranted in this area of research and should focus on clinically significant outcomes. ..
  52. Howard B, Scott J, Blubaugh M, Roepke B, Scheckel C, Vassar M. Systematic review: Outcome reporting bias is a problem in high impact factor neurology journals. PLoS ONE. 2017;12:e0180986 pubmed publisher
    ..66% of major discrepancies with a reported p-value (n = 82) favored statistically significant results. These results suggest a need within neurology to provide more consistent and timely registration of outcomes. ..