Thursday, December 06, 2012

RCTs, Trip and the developing world

One thing that struck me recently was that we don't have a filter for RCTs in Trip.  Given the importance of these it seems remiss of us.  So, why not create one?  Well, I now plan to in early 2013.  We can build this by scraping content from PubMed using a suitable RCT filter (the current count is 438,900 trials) and I hope to work with Mendeley to highlight even more.  So, we should have a RCT collection of over 500,000 trials - which is hugely impressive.

While I was working through this idea I saw an email about the lack of systematic reviews suitable for the developing world (low and middle income countries, or LMIC).  As you may know we have done some work in this area (see our crowdsourcing initiative) but that's never really taken off. 

So, a thought occurred, why not use a filter for LMIC content?  A filter is a series of terms designed to highlight focussed content.  We'll use one for identifying RCTs (see here for further details) and it looks for terms/phrases such as randomised in the title.  There are a number of validated filters for RCTs, which is great.  A link from the Norwegian Satellite of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group highlights a LMIC filter.  It's unvalidated but looks like a great start.

So, pulling these two tales together:
  • We create a wonderful RCT database
  • We can tag RCTs if they're suitable for LMIC
  • We can tag the rest of the Trip content as being suitable for LMIC
This is massive!


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