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[Comment] Protocol review at 1997–2015

Stimulated by Muir Gray and others, critical appraisal of the scientific literature excited widespread interest in the 1990s. A natural extension of the critical examination of research papers was to question the quality of research protocols. In response to questions about the peer-review process for research grants, and concern about whether the process discouraged innovation,1 The Lancet was asked to consider publishing protocols. We did this, in an abridged form, from January, 1997.2 Our decision was based on a desire to get closer to authors, accelerate time to publication, and to reduce bias against well-designed and adequately powered randomised controlled trials of important questions that showed no difference in outcomes.

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