The use of acronyms to name clinical trials is increasingly popular yet controversial. We evaluated whether the naming of a trial with an acronym is associated with a distinctive effect on research, measured as the citation rate after publication. We identified consecutive randomized trials published between 1953 and 2003 from all systematic reviews completed by the Cochrane Heart Group as of January 31, 2004. The trials were classified as having or not having a name composed of an acronym and were analyzed as clusters according to research question, with the use of hierarchical linear modeling.
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