Why register a trial

There are both ethical and scientific reasons for registering trials. People who participate in clinical trials expect their contributions to be made use of in improving health care for everyone. Open access to information about ongoing and completed trials will satisfy the ethical duty to trial participants and will promote greater trust and public confidence in clinical research. Clinical trial registration in open access registries will also reduce selective publication of trial results, because by registering a trial the researchers commit to report the findings in accordance with basic ethical principles.

Selective reporting, regardless of the reason for it, leads to an incomplete view of the trial and its results. In addition to the above, clinical trial registration will decrease wasteful duplication of research, promote international research collaboration and ensure more efficient and effective allocation of research funds

Benefits of registering a trial in the Pan African Clinical Trials Registry

The benefits of the Pan African Clinical Trials Registry (PACTR) will be felt by a wide audience including policy makers, health professionals, clinical trial funders, development agencies, researchers, and the lay public.

Policy makers will benefit from the regulatory aspects of the Registry as they will be able to keep track of all clinical trial activity in their country and/or region. They will have a clearer idea of how clinical trial activity is serving the health needs of the population, as the Registry will provide them with up-to-date information on the nature and location of clinical trials being conducted. Policy makers will also benefit from the information provided by those comprehensive systematic reviews that will incorporate trial information from the Registry[1].

Health professionals will be able to find out information on trials in progress so that they can advise patients about appropriate trials in which to participate. Health professionals will also benefit from the evidence provided by comprehensive systematic reviews which may include information directly from the PACTR.

Clinical trial funders may obtain information on what research is being conducted, where the research is being conducted and by whom. This information will enable them to allocate their funding in a more appropriate and effective manner.

Numerous development agencies have dedicated funding for the development and enhancement of clinical trial activity and capabilities in Africa. The information contained in the database will provide them with a better view and understanding of the clinical trial activity and capacity in Africa.

Through a search of the PACTR database, researchers will be able to identify "gaps" in the research so that they can better focus their research objectives and activities.

The PACTR will also assist in meeting the ethical obligations of clinical trials to their participants. The lay public will be able to find out about clinical trials being conducted in their neighbourhoods. From the information provided they will be able to decide if they are interested and or eligible to participate in a particular trial.

[1] Although Cochrane systematic reviews are not a core objective of the PACTR project, inclusion of recent trial information in the Registry will facilitate the accessibility of this information for the conduct of up-to-date systematic reviews.