Under-reporting of clinical trials has been a problem for for decades (if not more). Only in the last few years has the medical community realized the pernicious effects this has on our knowledge about “what works” in medicine. If “bad” results don’t get permitted, all kinds of problems ensue, such as overly-optimistic views of new drugs, repeating of expensive and potentially dangerous research, and general waste of money. Since the NIH is such a big funder of medical research, this affects taxpayers too!
In any case, the NIH continues its slow (but steady?) crackdown on this issue. They are even threatening to cut off funding for researchers who don’t make their results available! (Of course a lot of research is funded by pharmaceutical companies, so this is hardly a comprehensive threat.)
I track this kind of thing because of my interest in “How societies learn” about technology. Forgetting and ignoring are powerful forces in retarding learning.
Sharing and Reporting the Results of Clinical Trials