The Health Research Authority moves to make research transparency the norm
16th September 2021
New reporting standards have been implemented to ensure that all researchers fulfil their responsibilities to make their research open and transparent - this is in line with the commitments set out in the Make it Public research transparency strategy
From Wednesday 15 September health and social care researchers are expected to submit information at the end of their research study to the Health Research Authority (HRA) online, explaining how they have fulfilled their transparency responsibilities. This is part of a set of changes that make it easy for researchers to be transparent and enable the HRA to know whether they are meeting the requirements.
A key responsibility is that researchers plan at the outset of their study how they will communicate the results to participants at the end of the study. The new reporting requirement will help the HRA check that this has been done. Researchers are also expected to submit a lay summary of results, which the HRA will publish on its website, ensuring research participants and the public can easily find and understand the outcome of the studies.
The changes have been developed by the HRA, in discussion with NHS Research Scotland, Health and Care Research Wales and Health and Social Care Northern Ireland and will apply to all studies across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that are yet to submit a final report.
Juliet Tizzard, Director of Policy and Partnerships at the HRA, said: "When we were developing the Make it Public strategy, many research participants told us that they had taken part in studies but never heard about the results – whether directly or through public information. They felt undervalued and frustrated and were less willing to take part again. We made a commitment to change that – to make it clear to researchers was is expected of them, to help them be transparent and to monitor how well they are doing.
"Today’s changes to reporting at the end of research studies - coupled with changes we have already made to help researchers plan at the start how they will inform participants at the end – fulfil that commitment. We know that most researchers want to be transparent and just need help to do that. Our published guidance on writing a lay summary of their results can support them in doing this."
The full Make It Public strategy and implementation plan can be found at www.hra.nhs.uk/makeitpublic