In a recent blog Dr Ben Goldacre, from Oxford University DataLab, describes the concept of OpenTrials, an open platform for locating and sharing all freely available data and documents from any clinical trial. Unpublished, misreported or incomplete results have all contributed to the recent outcry for data sharing and trial transparency. Having all study material accessible in one place can only aid the process.
OpenTrials aims to take information from registers and journals and combine it with regulatory documents, data on methods and results and trial paperwork. All of these data are then collated and available according to trial. Patients, researchers and clinicians can then use this wealth of evidence to make informed decisions. By collecting all these data together, it is possible that trials with missing data may become more obvious and this, in turn, may encourage future data release. The current database is growing and is being populated by a three step process:
- Trial registry identification number and probabilistic record linkage are being used to source information from other repositories
- People who have already collated multiple trial documents are invited to donate their collection
- Users can submit relevant trial documents to supplement existing clinical trial data
OpenTrials will share all data with no charge or restrictions. It is hoped that those who use the data will then share their results back in turn and all contributors will be credited. The architects of OpenTrials are keen to receive feedback so they can build and develop the best possible system that meets the demands of the user. Ben Goldacre and Jonathan Grey have recently published a paper in Trials which describes the methods, design and data schema used to develop OpenTrials in detail.