Progress report: OpenTrials – linking clinical trial data

Since last year Open Knowledge has been developing OpenTrials, an open, online database linking the publicly available data and documents on all clinical trials conducted – something that has been talked about for many years but never created. The project is funded by The Laura and John Arnold Foundation and directed by Dr. Ben Goldacre, an internationally known leader on clinical trial transparency. Having an open and freely re-usable database of the world’s clinical trial data will increase discoverability, facilitate research, identify inconsistent data, enable audits on the availability and completeness of this information, support advocacy for better data, and drive standards around open data in evidence-based medicine.

The project is currently in its first phase (which runs until March 2017), where the focus is on building and populating the first prototype of the OpenTrials database, as well as raising awareness of the project in the community and getting user involvement and feedback. The progress that has been made so far was presented last month at the Evidence Live conference in Oxford, which brought together leaders across the world of Evidence Based Medicine, including researchers, doctors, and the pharmaceutical industry. This was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the project and speak to both researchers who want to use the platform as well as people with a general enthusiasm for its impact on medicine.

Around 40 people attended our talk which explained why OpenTrials is an important infrastructure project for medicine, covered some of the technical aspects of the platform, details of what data we’ve imported so far, and lastly a quick demo.

If you’re feeling impatient, here are the slides from the talk, or scroll down for a summary.

OpenTrials at Evidence Live

Ben Goldacre and Vitor Baptista present OpenTrials at Evidence Live 2016 (photo by benmeg / CC BY)

What we’ve imported into the OpenTrials database so far

  • 331,999 deduplicated trials, collected from nine clinical trial registries:
    • ANZCTR 11,645
    • ClinicalTrials.gov 205,422
    • EU CTR 35,159
    • GSK 4,131
    • ISRCTN 14,256
    • Pfizer 1,567
    • Takeda 1,142
    • UMIN 20,557
    • WHO ICTRP 298,688
Imported trials

Current functionality

  • Basic search (by keyword)
  • Searching for trials with publications
  • Uploading missing data/documents for a particular trial
  • Showing trials with discrepancies (e.g. target sample size)

What we’re importing next

Feedback and get involved

If you attended the talk and have any questions or feedback, please email us. And generally if you’re interested in contributing to OpenTrials, get in touch.

Want to get early access to the data and be a user tester? Sign up and we’ll be in touch soon.