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F1000Res. 2016 Nov 3;5:2629. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.10010.1. eCollection 2016.

The TrialsTracker: Automated ongoing monitoring of failure to share clinical trial results by all major companies and research institutions.

Author information

1
Evidence-Based Medicine Data Lab, Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Health Care Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Abstract

Background: Failure to publish trial results is a prevalent ethical breach with a negative impact on patient care. Audit is an important tool for quality improvement. We set out to produce an online resource that automatically identifies the sponsors with the best and worst record for failing to share trial results. Methods: A tool was produced that identifies all completed trials from clinicaltrials.gov, searches for results in the clinicaltrials.gov registry and on PubMed, and presents summary statistics for each sponsor online. Results: The TrialsTracker tool is now available. Results are consistent with previous publication bias cohort studies using manual searches. The prevalence of missing studies is presented for various classes of sponsor. All code and data is shared. Discussion: We have designed, built, and launched an easily accessible online service, the TrialsTracker, that identifies sponsors who have failed in their duty to make results of clinical trials available, and which can be maintained at low cost. Sponsors who wish to improve their performance metrics in this tool can do so by publishing the results of their trials.

KEYWORDS:

Publication bias; audit; transparency

Conflict of interest statement

BG has received research funding from LJAF, the Wellcome Trust, the NHS National Institute for Health Research, the Health Foundation, and the WHO. BG is co-founder of the AllTrials campaign on trials transparency. BG receives personal income from speaking and writing for lay audiences on the misuse of science. APS receives income as a freelance software developer.

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