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Society welcomes new research transparency strategy

Published: 30 Jul 2020 in Society news

Today, the Health Research Authority (HRA) publishes its new ‘Make It Public’ strategy, setting out an approach to drive transparency and openness in health and social care research. The importance of sharing research openly has been amplified further by the COVID-19 pandemic. The strategy identifies three areas of improvement to help drive change across the UK: registering research studies, reporting results and informing participants.
 
The strategy aims to:

  • Make transparency easy
  • Make transparency the norm
  • Make information public
It covers health and social care research taking place in the UK which involves people, their tissue or their personal data, and which require review by an NHS research ethics committee. Whilst there are many types of research studies, the implications for clinical trials are of particular interest to the Society.
 
As part of the development of this strategy, the Society responded to the HRA’s consultation noting our support for ‘AllTrials’ (www.alltrials.net) and our position that:
 
  • All clinical trials should be registered, including commercially run trials
  • All clinical trials should be reported regardless of the outcome: all trials provide valuable data
  • Participants should receive a lay summary of trial results, and the implication of those results

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, the Society’s President, said:

Research transparency helps researchers and policymakers build a fuller picture of the effectiveness of interventions and helps avoid duplication of effort. The results of all trials should be published, regardless of their outcome. The contributions of participants should be respected through effective and appropriate communication about the implications for treatment and further research. In parallel, this should all be made simpler for researchers: reporting, publishing and funding requirements should be simple, flexible and aligned. Today’s strategy brings welcome recognition of the challenges, the opportunities - and the benefits of getting this right.