Research transparency

Last updated on 26 Mar 2024

Our vision is that trusted information from health and social care research studies is publicly available for the benefit of all.

Research transparency is central to ethical research practice. When research is carried out openly and transparently, everyone will be able to see what research is happening and the outcomes from finished studies.

This means that:

  • patients, service users and carers can find opportunities to join studies
  • researchers can build on previous research findings in their efforts to develop new and better treatments, and to identify the best ways for us to stay healthy and well
  • health professionals, commissioners, policy makers, and funders, can use research findings to help make informed decisions

Promoting transparency across the research landscape is central to our role to facilitate safe and ethical research.

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Make it Public campaign

#MakeitPublic is a campaign dedicated to research transparency. Make it Public is led by a campaign group which includes experts from across the sector and members of the public. Our goal is to:

  • make transparency easy
  • make transparency the norm
  • make information public

Make it Public Week 2024 was from 18 to 22 March and this year, we focused on how we can work together to improve the registration rates of clinical trials.

Find out more.

We collaborate with stakeholders across the research community to gather insights on research transparency and champion the public benefits of being transparent about research.

Together we drive forward our Make it Public strategy and support the research community to realise our vision for research transparency.

You can also visit our news and updates section of the website to read blogs around research transparency and how to ensure best practice.

Clinical Trial Registration Audit Reports

Since 2015, we have audited the number of clinical trials that met the condition of the REC favourable opinion to register on a publicly accessible database.

This year for the first time, as well as sharing data on the clinical trials in the UK that received a favourable opinion from RECs in 2022, we are sharing details on their registration number or an explanation for non-registration when this has been shared with us. Read our latest audit data.

Read all the audit reports.

What do I need to know about research transparency?

If you are involved in developing or delivering research, we detail more information further down on this page regarding your transparency responsibilities, the related legal and regulatory requirements and transparency best practice.

I deliver research, what do I need to know?

Research Transparency Annual Report 2022/23

As part of Make it Public Week last year, we launched our second Research Transparency Annual Report. You can read the report and view an accessible PDF version on our website.

Our research transparency strategy

Our strategy, ‘Make it public: transparency and openness in health and social care research’, sets out our vision that trusted information from health and social care research studies is publicly available for the benefit of all. To help achieve this, the HRA is working with key stakeholders across the research sector, patients and the public to:

  • make transparency easy 
  • make transparency the norm 
  • make information public 

The strategy was developed following a public consultation and is supported by an implementation plan.

Read the strategy.

Four elements of research transparency

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The UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research sets out the responsibilities for researchers, sponsors and funders for all aspects of research, including responsibilities for the four elements of research transparency. These are: 

  1. registering research studies
  2. reporting results
  3. informing participants
  4. sharing study data and tissue

The study lifecycle roadmap

We've developed a tool to support researchers through the process of planning and conducting research. It includes guidance on each of the elements of transparency at each stage of the study lifecycle.

View our roadmap
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