Background Given the increased amount of research being funded in the field of urology, reducing the amount of research waste is vital. Systematic reviews are an essential tool in aiding in reducing waste in research; they are a comprehensive summary of the current data on a clinical question. The aim of this study is to evaluate the use of systematic reviews as justification in conducting randomized clinical trials (RCT) in high impact urology journals.
Methods On December 13, 2019, one of us (BJ) conducted a PubMed search for randomized controlled trials published in the top four urology journals according to their Google Scholar h5-index. Using a masked data extraction process each RCT was searched for systematic reviews. Then each review was evaluated for if it was justification for conducting the trial based on the context the systematic review was used.
Results Of the 566 articles retrieved 281 were included. Overall 60.5% (170/281) trials cited a systematic review. We found only 47.6% (134/281) studies cited a systematic review as “verbatim” justification for conducting the trial. Regression analysis yielded a finding of statistical significance in showing a correlation of studies over medical devices were more likely to cite a systematic review than other study topics ( adjusted odds ratio 2.01, 95% CI, 1.08 - 3.73) A total of 409 different systematic review citations were recorded in the 281 trials.
Conclusion Less than half of clinical trials cited a systematic review as justification for conducting the trial. If clinical trials were required to support their studies with systematic reviews we believe this would greatly reduce the amount of research waste within clinical research.