The James Lind Initiative

Books, websites and databases to promote critical thinking about treatment claims, 2003 to 2018


The James Lind Initiative (JLI) was a work programme inaugurated by Iain Chalmers and Patricia Atkinson to press for better research for better health care. It ran between 2003 and 2018, when Iain Chalmers retired. During the 15 years of its existence, the JLI developed three strands of work in collaboration with the authors of this paper, and with others.

Work themes:

  1. The first work strand involved developing a process for use by patients, carers and clinicians to identify shared priorities for research – the James Lind Alliance.
  2. The second strand was a series of articles, meetings, prizes and other developments to raise awareness of the massive amounts of avoidable waste in research, and of ways of reducing it.
  3. The third strand involved using a variety of approaches to promote better public and professional understanding of the importance of research in clinical practice and public health.

JLI work on the first two themes has been addressed in previously published reports. This paper summarises JLI involvement during the 15 years of its existence in giving talks, convening workshops, writing books, and creating websites and databases to promote critical thinking about treatment claims.

During its 15-year life, the James Lind Initiative worked collaboratively with others to create free teaching and learning resources to help children and adults learn how to recognise untrustworthy claims about the effects of treatments. These resources have been translated in more than twenty languages, but much more could be done to support their uptake and wider use.

Reference. See also PMC539653. Image credit stemlynsblog.

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