Ben Goldacre on the beta launch of OpenTrials

Dr. Ben Goldacre shares news of the OpenTrials beta launch and provides further insights into why the team are releasing such an early prototype of the database. 

OpenTrials is a vast, ambitious project aiming to match all the publicly accessible documents and data, on all trials, side-by-side, in one place. You can read more about what we’re doing – and how we’re doing it – here, here, here, and here.

Today we have exciting news: the first publicly accessible demo of our service is now up and running, live on the internet, right here.

This is an early “beta”. Software geeks will know what that means. For the benefit of the Evidence Based Medicine geeks: “beta” means we’re sharing an early prototype, and that’s extremely important.

Because we want your feedback, early on. We want you to play with what we’ve built, and tell us what’s not working, what’s missing, what features you want, where the matches are going wrong, where the structures are confusing, and more. We are not building a monolith behind closed doors. We are following in the noble tradition of “release early, release often”, because we want you to help us keep on track, building something that meets your needs.

We also hope that you will want to get in touch. We want to bring software geeks and medical geeks together, pooling knowledge and techniques to build useful things together. So if you’d like to share some data to OpenTrials, join our user group, help us build some code modules, request features, or otherwise work with our team, then do please get in touch.

And we hope you enjoy playing with what we’ve built so far!

For a walkthrough of how to use the OpenTrials platform, Ben Meghreblian of the OpenTrials team has put together a brief video explainer below: