Median time to publication: 21 mos.

It takes nearly two years for results from the average clinical trial to be published, across all funders, according to a new study.

That's concerning, wrote researchers from Yale University School of Medicine, who summarized their results in JAMA Internal Medicine: “Differences across trial types were generally modest,” they wrote, “and indicate that timely dissemination of research needs to be uniformly prioritized to enhance science.”

The study looked at trials that were published in 2009. The researchers found 1,336 such trials indexed by MEDLINE and linked to a ClinicalTrials.gov identifier. The median time to publication, 21 months, was found to be longer for trials that were funded by industry as opposed to trials what were sponsored by government and non-profits.

Moreover, Reuters Health pointed out, the 21-month average flies in the face of FDA regulations that stipulate a 12-month maximum lag time.

However, even if the 12-month limit were enforced, lead researcher Joseph Ross, MD, noted that 30-50% of trials are never even published. Up to 70% don't make it to a journal until “many years after trial completion.”

Added Ross: “The substantial variation in publication time, from months to years, suggests there may be opportunities to improve the speed and efficiency with which investigators publish completed studies.”
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