‘OpenTrials’ site launched as a one-stop shop for medicine trial information

Clinical trial transparency is the name of the game with a new site launched this week aimed at allowing everyone to “locate, match, and share all publicly accessible data and documents” around medicines studies.

The site, called OpenTrials, which launched early in a beta version on Monday, has come into being with the help of Dr. Ben Goldacre, a founding member of the U.K.-based trial transparency lobby group AllTrials and author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma.

Its stated aim is to collect all of the information it can around trial data, aggregating this information, to then provide a “comprehensive picture of the data and documents on clinical trials conducted on medicines and other treatments around the world.”

The OpenTrials team are working to create what they dub a “centralised home” for all clinical trials information, openly threaded together with trial registry entries, trial documents, regulatory documents, and publications all in one place.

This is so that researchers, patient groups, doctors, the public and medical professionals can easily find and use them, as currently, this info is disparate and not always easily accessible, especially to the public.

“We want to see the best possible treatments for patients, and for these treatments to be based on the best research evidence,” the group says. “We hope our database will lead to less wasted effort as a result of missing or hard-to-find clinical trial information.”

OpenTrials extracts and matches data from a number of sources and registries including PubMed, ClinicalTrials.gov, and Drugs@FDA, as well as the EU Clinical Trials Register, the UK’s Health Research Authority, and the World Health Organization’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform.

“There have been numerous positive statements about the need for greater transparency on information about clinical trials, over many years, but it has been almost impossible to track and audit exactly what is missing, or easily identify discrepancies in information about trials” explained Dr. Goldacre, the project’s chief investigator and a Senior Clinical Research Fellow in the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford. 

“This project aims to draw together everything that is known around each clinical trial. The end product will provide valuable information for patients, doctors, researchers, and policymakers--not just on individual trials, but also on how whole sectors, researchers, companies, and funders are performing. It has the potential to show who is failing to share information appropriately, who is doing well, and how standards can be improved.”

It will not, however, be able to show data that are not publicly accessible.