Publish all the things…. #alltrials

Ben Goldacre has looked into many aspects of the data about pharmaceuticals, and he finds that the available data is lacking. Some of it just seems to be unavailable. He’s written about this in books, talked about it at TED, and is now working with others to really draw some attention to this.

All Trials is the campaign to require that all clinical trial data be registered and then published–even if that data is negative (as in no impact on the expected effects OR negative outcomes). From their site, here’s why it matters:

Around half of all clinical trials have not been published; some trials have not even been registered. If action is not taken urgently, information on what was done and what was found in trials could be lost forever, leading to bad treatment decisions, missed opportunities for good medicine, and trials being repeated unnecessarily on people and animals.

There’s real published data on this (ironically enough). Here’s a paper in PLOS Medicine that speaks to this issue as it played out with

Among the 10% subsample, less than half (311 of 677, 46%) of trials were published, among which 96 (31%) provided a citation within of a publication describing trial results.

Some of this is your tax dollars. Some of it is corporate money. But either way–the best decisions can only be made when all the data is available.

Ok, maybe that’s not the most compelling graphic. But luckily the AllTrials team has one you can put on your website to raise awareness of this issue:

AllTrials logo

Grab the web button here:  to post it on your site.

Sign the petition.


Ross, J., Mulvey, G., Hines, E., Nissen, S., & Krumholz, H. (2009). Trial Publication after Registration in ClinicalTrials.Gov: A Cross-Sectional Analysis PLoS Medicine, 6 (9) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000144

EDIT: more here by Virginia Barbour Getting serious about registering and reporting trials –