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Publishing your research findings

Last updated on 3 Feb 2021

Making the results of research studies public, builds trust and accountability, ensures that participants are protected from unnecessary studies and research funding maximised. When research is carried out openly and transparently, everyone will be able to see what research is happening and the outcomes from finished studies.

Other than research for educational purposes and early phase trials, the findings, whether positive, negative, neutral or inconclusive should be made accessible in a timely manner after they have finished.

Where applicable, people who have taken part in a research project should be thanked for their contribution and told about what it helped the researchers find out.

Where the main findings are also to be submitted for publication in a journal, this should be done within 12 months of study completion, to be published through an open-access mechanism in a peer-reviewed journal.

Publication of Clinical Trial Results

Other than early phase trials, sponsors of Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products (CTIMPs) should publish a research summary of their findings within one year of the study’s completion. This timeline is reduced to six months for paediatric studies.

You should publish your summary results within these timeframes in the public register (or registers) where you have registered your clinical trial.

If the register used does not have a results section, the results should be posted on a free-to-access, publicly available, searchable institutional website of the sponsor, funder or chief investigator.

Where the main findings are also to be submitted for publication in a journal, this should be done within 12 months of study completion, to be published through an open-access mechanism in a peer-reviewed journal.

Informing participants

It is good practice to disseminate the results of research to research participants and other interested groups or communities. Providing participants with a summary of the findings acknowledges and appropriately respects the contribution they have made. Information about the publication and dissemination arrangements should be included in the participant information sheet.

Involving patients or other people with relevant experience at an early stage in your planning will help you to provide feedback and dissemination of the study results in a user-friendly way which is accessible to multiple audiences.

We are committed to supporting and encouraging researchers to involve patients and the public in their work at the earliest opportunity. See our Public involvement pages for more information on how public involvement can improve the quality and relevance of your research.

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