CIHR Signs the World Health Organization’s Joint Statement on Public Disclosure of Results from Clinical Trials

CIHR is delighted to join some of the world’s largest funders of health research and international non-governmental organizations by signing the World Health Organization’s Joint Statement on Public Disclosure of Results from Clinical Trials (“WHO Joint Statement”). By aligning with international best practices for clinical trial reporting, CIHR is proud to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to advance open science and research excellence. 

The WHO Joint Statement requires that all clinical trials be registered and the results disclosed publicly in a timely manner. CIHR is already aligned with most elements of the WHO Statement through existing Tri-Agency policies, including the Tri-Council Policy Statement on the Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2), the Tri-Agency Responsible Conduct of Research Framework and the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. However, CIHR will be implementing several new policy elements to ensure full compliance with all WHO Joint Statement requirements.

In the coming year, CIHR will develop a policy guidance document to communicate the details of new requirements relating to clinical trials results reporting. This policy guidance will introduce the following new mandatory elements for CIHR-funded researchers: a 12-month timeframe for clinical trial registration and public disclosure of results; the inclusion of a trial ID in publications of clinical trial results; and the provision of results of previous trials and reporting status when applying for funding. Of note, the new policy requirements (to be published within 12 months of signature) will not apply prospectively to COVID-19 clinical trials funded through CIHR’s rapid responses; however, existing open access and data sharing expectations outlined within the COVID-19 funding opportunities will remain in place.

Improving the timely disclosure of clinical trial results will increase value and efficiency in the use of research funds, reduce reporting biases and waste in research, and contribute to better decision-making in health. CIHR’s signing of the WHO Joint Statement affirms the agency’s commitment to improving transparency and reducing publication biases in the Canadian health research enterprise by ensuring clinical research findings are made available to those who can benefit from and build upon them.

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