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Publishing study protocols
  1. Brian D Johnston
  1. Dr B D Johnston, Editor, Injury Prevention, BMJ Journals, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9JR, UK; ipeditor{at}bmjgroup.com

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With this issue, Injury Prevention introduces a new section in which we will publish protocols for proposed or funded injury-related studies. A study protocol details the rationale, hypothesis, and proposed methodology of the research planned. It is a road map that should direct the efforts of the researchers and—ideally—be presented with sufficient detail to allow replication of the methods by others. Unfortunately, space constraints often limit the description of the protocol in published studies to a terse and abbreviated methods section. In offering to publish protocols, we hope to improve the quality and accuracy of scientific reporting while adding depth to the methodological resources available to colleagues and researchers worldwide.

The putative benefits of publishing study protocols are several.12 Firstly, prospective publication of study aims and methods allows one to compare the results reported with the original hypotheses and research plan. Post hoc subgroup analyses and selective reporting of only significant associations are two common but scientifically suspect approaches to data analysis that would be more apparent if …

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