One clear solution is to place a greater emphasis on data sharing using technologies, so other researchers can look at the primary data upon which others base their research. “Journal editors are increasingly asking authors for a declaration of their willingness to share data, protocols, and statistical codes, and are ensuring that trials are registered and reported in clinicaltrials.gov—which is legally required in the United States.
Explore This IssueOctober 2017
“A researcher must register any trial they plan to perform,” Dr. Goodman said. “They must report results, regardless of whether the trial was completed or not, within a year of it being concluded.” Institutions and companies that perform trials and fail to do this can be subject to fines of up to $10,000 a day for lack of reporting.
He also expects funders such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation to possibly put forth more rigid requirements about data sharing and documenting publication of previously supported research. He says a movement toward required training in research design and methods could emerge—investigators might need to be credentialed before being allowed to submit a proposal to an institutional review board, for example.
Effects on the Field of Otolaryngology
The breakdown will have a halo effect, Dr. Jones said. As funding decreases, conditions with lower incidence rates, such as head and neck cancer, will receive less funding. “Because physician-scientists have dual pressures to be productive in both the laboratory and clinic, a lack of research will limit time spent doing the former,” he added. Also, he said that as research funding decreases, otolaryngology departments will be forced to make tough decisions regarding where to direct resources. “Because there is no immediate return on investments in research, it is easier to justify budget decreases or focus more on clinical rather than translational research.”
Dr. Ishii said otolaryngology will suffer as a specialty if the field cannot attract the brightest minds into scientific research. “Our next generation of clinician-scientists will not choose this path if they worry about resources and feasibility,” she concluded.
Karen Appold is a freelance medical writer based in Pennsylvania.