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Time to publication for NIHR HTA programme-funded research: a cohort study


Objective To assess the time to publication of primary research and evidence syntheses funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme published as a monograph in Health Technology Assessment and as a journal article in the wider biomedical literature.

Study design Retrospective cohort study.

Setting Primary research and evidence synthesis projects funded by the HTA Programme were included in the cohort if they were registered in the NIHR research programmes database and was planned to submit the draft final report for publication in Health Technology Assessment on or before 9 December 2011.

Main outcome measures The median time to publication and publication at 30 months in Health Technology Assessment and in an external journal were determined by searching the NIHR research programmes database and HTA Programme website.

Results Of 458 included projects, 184 (40.2%) were primary research projects and 274 (59.8%) were evidence syntheses. A total of 155 primary research projects had a completion date; the median time to publication was 23 months (26.5 and 35.5 months to publish a monograph and to publish in an external journal, respectively) and 69% were published within 30 months. The median time to publication of HTA-funded trials (n=126) was 24 months and 67.5% were published within 30 months. Among the evidence syntheses with a protocol online date (n=223), the median time to publication was 25.5 months (28 months to publication as a monograph), but only 44.4% of evidence synthesis projects were published in an external journal. 65% of evidence synthesis studies had been published within 30.0 months.

Conclusions Research funded by the HTA Programme publishes promptly. The importance of Health Technology Assessment was highlighted as the median time to publication was 9 months shorter for a monograph than an external journal article.


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