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03.08.20

NIHR reaffirms commitment to health research transparency

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has marked its continued support for transparency in health research by backing the Health Research Authority’s new transparency strategy, which aims to ensure information about health and social care research is made publicly available in a way which benefits patients, researchers and policy makers.

The Make it Public strategy was launched by the Health Research Authority (HRA) and focuses on three key aspects: registering research studies, reporting results and informing participants.

Highlighting the importance of sharing details of research so that results inform best quality care and ensure the public can access details of all research taking place, the strategy aims to make it easier for researchers to be transparent about their work.

Measures recommended within the strategy include:

  • Expecting researchers to plan how they will let research participants know about the findings of the study from the beginning
  • Introducing additional monitoring to check that researchers are registering and reporting results, and to collect information about study findings
  • Making information on individual research projects - and their transparency performance - available to the public
  • Introducing a system to consider past transparency performance when reviewing new studies for approval.

NIHR spokesperson Elaine Williams said: “NIHR has a long-standing commitment to transparency and we are delighted to support HRA’s Make it Public strategy. Never has transparency been more important with the widespread and rapid research being undertaken globally in response to COVID-19.

“Transparency of research information, be that knowing what research is underway or the results of research, is essential. We want to encourage more people to take part in research, so ensuring we actively tell participants what their study found is vital to broadening participation. Key to the strategy’s success will be making transparency the norm and achieving that in a streamlined and proportionate way.”

The HRA’s strategy was developed with oversight from a UK-wide expert group, chaired by Professor Andrew George and shaped by a public consultation held last summer.

Professor George added: “It is time for change; better support and encouragement for researchers and research sponsors, greater visibility for patients and the public and fair consequences for those who don’t take transparency seriously.”

The full HRA strategy can be read online.

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