Research transparency

Last updated on 22 Feb 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.

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?

Anyone with an interest in research transparency can find out more about our Make it Public campaign below.

The Make it Public Campaign

#MakeitPublic is a campaign dedicated to research transparency.

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

It is led by a campaign group which includes experts from across the sector and members of the public. Their role is to drive forward our Make it Public strategy and support the research community to realise our vision for research transparency. Read more about the Make it Public campaign group.

Last year, we launched Make it Public Week – the first ever week dedicated to research transparency. Read about the week and what happened.

We will be holding Make it Public Week 2024 from 18 -22 March. Find out more and register for our workshop on 22 March.

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

Research Transparency Annual Report 2022/23

As part of Make it Public Week 2023, 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

Clinical Trial Registration Audit Reports

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

Read the reports.

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