Researchers have found that less than half of a sample of trials primarily or partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was published within 30 months of completing the clinical.

“When research findings are not disseminated, the scientific process is disrupted and leads to redundant efforts and misconceptions about clinical evidence,” said Dr. Joseph Ross, first author of the study and a Yale assistant professor of medicine.

“Such inaction undermines both the trial in question and the evidence available in peer-reviewed medical literature. This has far-reaching implications for policy decisions, and even institutional review board assessments of risks and benefits associated with future research studies.”

After analyzing trials that were registered after September 30, 2005 and completed by December 31, 2008, allowing at least 30 months for publication following completion of the trial, Yale School of Medicine researchers found that overall, only less than half of NIH-funded trials in the sample were published in a peer-reviewed, MEDLINE-indexed biomedical journal within 30 months of trial completion, while one-third of the trials remained unpublished 51 months after completion.

While Ross explained that there are many reasons why a study wouldn’t go into publication, some of which include not getting accepted by a journal or not prioritizing the dissemination of research findings he said there are other ways of providing timely public access to studies and they should be taken.

“Steps must be taken to ensure the timely dissemination of publicly funded research so that data from all those who volunteer are available to inform future research and practice,” Ross said.

“More work needs to be done to better understand impediments to publication.”