Publication of Government-Funded Research

Summary and Comment |
November 14, 2013

Publication of Government-Funded Research

  1. Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM

Results of more than one third of National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute–sponsored trials were not published in peer-reviewed journals within 3 years after completion.

  1. Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM

A recent study of trials funded by the National Institutes of Health suggested that results of only about half are published within 3 years after completion. Recognizing the importance of rapid publication of clinical-trial findings, investigators at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute conducted an evaluation of the agency's own sponsored research, determining the time between the completion of 244 extramural, randomized, clinical trials conducted from 2000 through 2011 and the publication of the trials' main findings in peer-reviewed journals.

Within 30 months after trial completion, results of only 57% of the trials had been published. At 4 years, only 75% of trial findings had been published. Among trials costing more than $5 million to conduct, results of 9% were not published within 30 months.


The finding that results of many government-funded trials are not being published, even as late as 4 years after completion, is very disturbing and should elicit a rapid call for solutions. Nonpublication of trial findings perverts the evidence base, is wasteful of resources, and violates the trust of those who agreed to participate. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute should be commended for undertaking such an audit and for being willing to publish their findings.

Editor Disclosures at Time of Publication

  • Disclosures for Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM at time of publication Consultant / Advisory board United Healthcare Equity ImageCor Speaker's bureau Centrix Grant / research support FDA; NIH-NHLBI; Commonwealth Fund; The Catherine and Patrick Weldon Donaghue Medical Research Foundation; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Medtronic Editorial boards; American Journal of Managed Care; American Journal of Medicine; Archives of Medical Science; Central European Journal of Medicine; Congestive Heart Failure; Critical Pathways in Cardiology; Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports; JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging; Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine; Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes Leadership positions in professional societies American Board of Internal Medicine (Chair, Assessment 2020 Task Force); American College of Cardiology (CV Research and Scholarly Activity, and Lifelong Learning Oversight Committee); American College of Physicians (CV Research and Scholarly Activity); American Heart Association (CV Research and Scholarly Activity); Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Heart Care Technical Expert Panel); Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality (Heart Care Technical Expert Panel); VHA, Inc. (Center of Applied Healthcare Studies External Advisory Board)


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