OpenTrials aims to locate, match, and share all publicly accessible data and documents, on all trials conducted, on all medicines and other treatments, globally. OpenTrials is aggregating this information from a wide variety of existing sources and aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the data and documents on clinical trials conducted on medicines and other treatments around the world.
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What does OpenTrials hope to achieve?
The OpenTrials team are working to create a centralised home for all clinical trials information, openly threaded together with trial registry entries, trial documents, regulatory documents, and publications all in one place, so that researchers, patient groups, doctors, the public and medical professionals can easily find and use them.
We want to see the best possible treatments for patients, and for these treatments to be based on the best research evidence. We hope our database will lead to less wasted effort as a result of missing or hard-to-find clinical trial information.
OpenTrials extracts and matches data from a number of sources and registries including PubMed, ClinicalTrials.gov, and [email protected] (the US medicines regulator). For more on where our data comes from, click here. You can read more on the OpenTrials technical roadmap here, and read a full description of the vision for the project in this academic paper.
Why is OpenTrials important?
Clinical research is essential to public health outcomes – it drives medical breakthroughs and helps ensure individuals around the world have access to the best available treatments.
Evidence suggests that around half of completed clinical trials go unpublished. Information that we do have on clinical trials is scattered in different locations and databases. As a result, patients worldwide are not receiving the best possible medical treatments and research on better treatments is inefficient.
Through the OpenTrials platform, researchers can more efficiently collaborate and advance scientific knowledge, doctors can easily find the latest evidence to improve services, and patients can locate information about pressing public health issues.
What will we be demoing at our beta launch?
We’re launching a preliminary release (public beta) of OpenTrials on 10th October to coincide with a panel we’ll be taking part in at the World Health Summit in Berlin. We’ll be demoing how the OpenTrials interface works, including how to explore trials and filter results by criteria such as drug and disease area. We will also demonstrate the power of linking clinical trial information together, showing how it can be used to highlight important discrepancies in the data. Just before the launch, on 8th October, we’re also running an OpenTrials Hack Day (sponsored by PLOS Medicine). More about these events can be found here.
For the beta launch, the following sources and registries have been scraped, matched and deduplicated: the EU Clinical Trials Register, the UK’s Health Research Authority, the World Health Organisation’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, ClinicalTrials.gov and PubMed.
How do we want people to respond?
We want the information provided on OpenTrials to inform decision-making and lead to better medical services worldwide. Though the platform is still in beta, we expect a range of potential uses when the database is fully developed:
- A public health researcher could find out more about the range of trials on a drug, searching by various criteria to match a specific population.
- A doctor interested in critical appraisal of research papers could see if sources of bias for specific trials have already been assessed by experts.
- A patient interested in participating in a trial for their condition could identify trials in their geographical area which are enrolling.
We’re also interested to see how policy makers and regulators may use OpenTrials to inform their work, how data journalists will use the data to write interesting data-driven stories, and the applications that developers may build on top of the OpenTrials API. For more on the uses of OpenTrials, visit our User Stories page.
How can you participate or support?
There are a number of ways you can get involved with OpenTrials. If you have data about clinical trials that you would like to share, if you are looking to connect with a wider community around open trials and patient advocacy, or if you would like to be involved with user testing, do let us know. If you are interested in contributing your time as a volunteer, we will also be organising crowdsourcing tasks aimed at improving the OpenTrials database by verifying trial registry records.
Crowdsourcing task now open for OpenTrialsFDA: http://crowdcrafting.org/project/opentrials-fda-indications/
Subscribe to the OpenTrials newsletter here: https://opentrials.net/newsletter/
Contribute datasets to OpenTrials: https://opentrials.net/contribute/
The OpenTrials team will be at a number of events in the next few months. Reach out @OpenTrials and let us know if you’ll be attending!
International Open Data Conference
Main session – Open Data and Health
Fri 7 October, Madrid
OpenTrials Hack Day
World Health Summit satellite event
Sponsored by PLOS Medicine
Sat 8th October, Berlin
World Health Summit
Panel: Fostering Open Science in Global Health
Mon 10th October, Berlin
Tues 25 October, Seoul
BD2K Open Data Science Symposium
Presentation of the OpenTrialsFDA prototype (finalist for the Open Science Prize)
Thur 1 December, North Bethesda
To discuss interviews and other media opportunities related to OpenTrials, contact us at [email protected].
For time-sensitive requests, contact the Open Knowledge International Communications Team:
Sierra Williams [email protected]
Lieke Ploeger [email protected]
OpenTrials launches beta version today at the World Health Summit (10 Oct 2016) – OpenTrials press release, Open Knowledge International
OpenTrials “search engine” for clinical trials nearing beta launch (3 Oct 2016) – AllTrials interview with Community Manager for OpenTrials, Ben Meghreblian
- OpenTrials: what, why and how? – by Ben Goldacre on the On Medicine blog at BioMed Central (14 April 2016)
- OpenTrials: towards a collaborative open database of all available information on all clinical trials – By Ben Goldacre and Jonathan Gray in Trials 2016 17:164 DOI: 10.1186/s13063-016-1290-8 (8 April 2016)
Reuse of Website Material
You are free to use the data published on the OpenTrials site for any purpose, subject to the following conditions:
- Content created by third parties is offered to you under their terms. Please see the full list of sources and links to their licensing terms, where available, here: You should refer to the original source if you have questions about your rights to use this content.
- Content we create, or which contributors submit directly to us, is offered under the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (usually called “CC0”). However, we encourage you to give appropriate credit to OpenTrials and OpenTrials contributors.
Unless otherwise stated, the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0) applies to images (excluding logos), videos, blog posts and our FAQ sections. For more details, see the full text of the Public Domain Dedication.
In addition, when using this data, we encourage you to:
- note the date you retrieved the data from us; and
- describe any modifications you made to the data.