Evidence has raised concerns regarding the association between funding sources and doubtful data. Our main outcome was to analyze trends on funding sources in articles published from 1990 to 2020 in the more influential journals of internal and general medicine. In this meta-epidemiological study, we included peer-reviewed studies from the 10 highest impact journals in general and internal medicine published between January 1990 and February 2020 based on published original research according to the 2018 InCites Journal of Citation Reports, these consisted of the following: The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, JAMA, BMJ, JAMA Internal Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, PLOS Medicine, Cachexia, BMC Medicine, and Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Two reviewers working in duplicate extracted data regarding year of publication, study design, and sources of funding. In total, 496 articles were found; of these, 311 (62.7%) were observational studies, 167 (33.7%) were experimental, and 16 (3.2%) were secondary analyses. Percentages of grant sources through the years were predominantly from government (60%), industry (23.83%), and non-governmental (16.06%) organizations. The percentage of industry subsidies tended to decrease, but this was not significant in a linear regression model (r=0.02, p≥0.05). Government and non-government funding sources showed a trend to decrease in the same univariate analysis with both significant associations (r=0.21, p≤0.001 and r=0.10, p≤0.001, respectively). The main funding source in medical research has consistently been government aid. Despite previous reported data, no association was found between the source of funding and statistically significant results favoring study authors’ hypothesis.
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Contributors RR-G contributed to conceptualization, methodology, writing—original draft, writing—review and editing, visualization, supervision, project administration; EB-J contributed to conceptualization, methodology, software, validation, formal analysis, investigation, resources, data curation, conceptualization, writing—original draft, writing—review and editing; RCS contributed to conceptualization, methodology, software, validation, formal analysis, investigation, resources, data curation, conceptualization, writing—original draft, writing—review and editing; MS-F contributed to methodology, investigation, resources, data curation, conceptualization, writing—original draft, writing—review and editing; JAZ-H contributed to conceptualization, methodology, software, validation, formal analysis, investigation, resources, data curation, conceptualization, writing—original draft, writing—review and editing; MZ-L contributed to methodology, writing—original draft, writing—review and editing.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf and declare: no support from any organization for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organizations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous 3 years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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