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Open Access Highly Accessed Commentary

It’s plain and simple: transparency is good for science and in the public interest

Simon Denegri1 and Helene Faure2*

Author Affiliations

1 Chair INVOLVE, NIHR National Director for Public Participation and Engagement in Research, Involve, 33 Corsham Street, London N1 6DR, United Kingdom

2 Database Manager Current Controlled Trials, BioMed Central, 236 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8HB, United Kingdom

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Trials 2013, 14:215  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-215

Published: 12 July 2013

Abstract

In the past couple of years, there has been a growing focus on the need to make scientific output accessible to a greater number of people, especially in the field of clinical research. The public are being urged to become more well-informed and to ask their doctors about taking part in clinical trials.

A key finding of a report from the Association of Medical Research Charities was that all published scientific papers would benefit from having a section in plain English. Researchers running a clinical trial are expected to provide a summary of their intended research at various stages of the research process. However, there is evidence that existing summaries are of variable length and quality and not always in plain English.

As a result, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) commissioned a review of the guidance that is available to researchers. However, recent initiatives demonstrate that there are still a number of challenges in making current research both accessible and understandable by prospective participants.

BioMed Central also has a number of ongoing initiatives involving trial registration services and journals.

Keywords:
Trial; Transparency; Plain english; Lay summary; Guidance