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Publication and dissemination of research findings

Last updated on 19 Mar 2018

We publish details of all research reviewed by the Research Ethics Committees (RECs) in the UK as a research summary record. This record consists of some basic information about the research (e.g. title, available registry reference numbers), summary of the research as submitted to the REC and the REC’s opinion. 

We recognise that commercial sensitivity may be a concern in some sectors and so it is possible for applicants and sponsors to submit a request to the REC to defer publication of the research summary and the full study title on the HRA website. However, the remainder of the research summary record will continue to be published. 

This supports our statutory duties to promote research transparency

Publication of Clinical Trial Results

Sponsors of Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products (CTIMPs) are required to publish a research summary of their  findings  on the EuDRACT database within one year of the study’s completion.  This timeline is reduced to six months for paediatric studies.  This requirement does not apply to Phase 1 studies.  

Information to participants at the end of a study

It is good practice to disseminate the results of research to research participants and other interested groups or communities.  This provides feedback to participants on the outcome of research towards which they have contributed.  Consideration should be given to providing a summary sheet of the findings or letting participants know where they can access the results. This may include:

  • Care after research: there are ethical and practical issues, in particular when participants may wish to continue on the study intervention after the study. As there are various guidelines and legislation, we have produced a document that presents a framework of questions to help RECs and their applicants.
  • Participants in clinical trials (excluding Phase 1 studies of healthy volunteers) and other interventional studies including diagnostic studies should be given information at the end of a study explaining:
  • How their care might change
  • When they can expect the summary findings to be made available
  • How they will be given access to the summary findings.

You should refer to the HRA guidance on information at the end of study. This HRA guidance applies to those undertaking clinical trials and other interventional (i.e. studies involving clinical interventions) or diagnostic studies involving patients. It does not apply to early phase clinical trials in healthy volunteers. 

You should submit copies of any end of study information sheets that have been provided to participants, alongside your final report to the REC.

This guidance applies to the study types (as referenced above) from 1 April 2015. This includes studies that are underway on this date and where there are participants still in the study. Researchers are not expected to apply this guidance to participants that have already completed studies.

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