The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Australian Government’s medical research funder and regulator, has joined AllTrials. The NHMRC oversees medical research in Australia and established the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCRT). Around 100 clinical trials are registered each month on the ANZCTR with close to 10,000 registered by the end of October 2014.

Dr Virginia Barbour, Medicine & Biology Editorial Director, PLOS, Brisbane, Australia and cofounder of AllTrials:

The news that the NHMRC has lent its support to the AllTrials initiative is a tremendous step forward for trial reporting in Australia. The NHMRC occupies a key position in the funding and oversight of health research, including clinical trials, in Australia through individual grants and its funding of the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre at the University of Sydney. We hope that other funders of research in Australia will follow the leadership set by the NHMRC.

This news is in line with other moves to increase transparency in research and access to research data more widely in Australia– such as those led by the Australian National Data Service. It lends more support to the idea, both in Australia and internationally, that a lack of transparency in any form of research is no longer the norm.

Here is the NHMRC’s statement:

The NHMRC is pleased to support the principles of the AllTrials statement.

NHMRC recognises the importance of registering clinical trials.  A NHMRC Enabling Grant funded the establishment of the ANZCTR in 2005. The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007) (the Code), with which all NHMRC funded researchers must comply, requires the registration of clinical trials with a recognised clinical trials register.  In addition, the NHMRC Funding Rules, which apply to all funding schemes, require that all NHMRC funded clinical trials be registered in the ANZCTR, or equivalent, prior to commencement of the clinical phase.

NHMRC is committed to the transparency and reporting of NHMRC-funded research outcomes.  The Code states that researchers have a responsibility to their colleagues and the wider community to disseminate a full account of their research as broadly as possible.  This responsibility is reinforced by the NHMRC Open Access Policy.

Whilst acknowledging that there may be some barriers to overcome, NHMRC supports the principle of publishing clinical trial methods and summary results.

The AllTrials campaign calls for all clinical trials to be registered and all results reported. Results from around half of all clinical trials remain hidden. Trials with negative results are twice as likely to remain unreported as those with positive results. This means that people who make decisions about medicines don’t have full information about the benefits and risks of treatments we use every day. AllTrials was launched in January 2013 and has been joined by 81635 people and 530 organisations. Sign the petition, ask your organisation to join and share the AllTrials video.