This article was first published in Nature on 13.09.18

European academics are failing abysmally when it comes to reporting the results of clinical trials, a study has revealed.

An analysis of data from the European Union’s Clinical Trial Register — published in The BMJ1 on 13 September — shows that around 50% of the listed trials have not complied with guidelines that say results must be reported within 12 months.

The researchers who conducted the analysis found that only 11% of trials run by academic centres — such as those led by universities, governments, hospitals or charities — had published outcomes after completion (see ‘Failing to comply’’).

Source: BMJ 2018;362:k3218 http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k3218

Furthermore, only 11 of the major sponsors of clinical trials — entities that are responsible for at least 50 trials on the register — had reported 100% of results, all of which were companies.

This compares to a total of 32 major sponsors that had not reported any results from their trials. All of these are academic institutions, rather than companies.

Ben Goldacre, head of the Evidence-Based Medicine DataLab at the University of Oxford, UK, and lead author of the study, says this is a serious concern for science. But he thinks that “chaos, rather than malice” is behind academics’ poor reporting of trial results.

Read more on Nature.