[From the article “We’ve Been Deceived: Many Clinical Trial Results Are Never Published”] It is now common practice for clinical trials to register their protocols prior to enrolling participants. These efforts are important if the research community is to have a better understanding of the research that has been done, and is ongoing. Such efforts are also useful to constrain data mining and the discovery of spurious correlations.
However, just because a trial is registered, doesn’t mean that the results are reported. And this contributes to the phenomenon of publication bias. A new tracking system called “TrialsTracker” is intended to identify the extent to which the results from clinical trials are not reported. The article reports that Canadian research institutions are among the worst when it comes to not reporting the results of clinical trials. To read more, click here. Elsewhere, studies have shown that trials with negative results are twice as likely to go unreported than trials that produce statistically significant results (see here).