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Compliance with International Committee of Medical Journal Editors policy on individual participant data sharing in clinical trial registries: An audit

 Meta-Research and Evidence Synthesis Unit, The George Institute for Global Health, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission06-Apr-2022
Date of Acceptance15-Apr-2022
Date of Web Publication12-Sep-2022

Correspondence Address:
Soumyadeep Bhaumik,
Meta-Research and Evidence Synthesis Unit, The George Institute for Global Health, 308, Elegance Tower, Plot No. 8, Jasola District Centre, New Delhi - 110 025
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/picr.picr_85_22

How to cite this URL:
Borana R, Bhaumik S. Compliance with International Committee of Medical Journal Editors policy on individual participant data sharing in clinical trial registries: An audit. Perspect Clin Res [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2023 Mar 20]. Available from: http://www.picronline.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=355976

   Introduction Top

The popularity of open data movement and methodological developments in the conduct of individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis and secondary analysis has led to increased calls for sharing of IPD of clinical trials.[1] Sharing of adequately deidentified IPD also enhances reproducibility, data quality, and utility. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) made it mandatory[2] for all trials, which began enrolling participants from January 1, 2019, to have an IPD data sharing plan. The policy requires the data sharing plan to provide adequate information through answers to a broad question and six subfields. Subsequently, the World Health Organization had added IPD sharing-related fields in the mandatory data field required in its International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) which trialists provide.[3] In this study, we aimed to examine how information on trialists' intent for IPD sharing is captured in different clinical registries globally and if they complied with the ICMJE policy.

   Methods Top

We audited 18 clinical trial registries (February 21–25, 2022) which were listed as primary registry or data providers in the WHO ICTRP network [Supplementary Data 1 available Online at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.20487870.v1]. We extracted data from fields and subfields related to IPD sharing from each of the registries from their publicly available data dictionaries (if available), checked trial registration fields in a mock account, or reviewed at least 10 most recent trial records of that registry for its IPD-related fields. Two auditors independently made decisions (yes or no) on the concurrence of the IPD data requirement of each registry with the IPD data policy of the ICMJE. We resolved disagreement (two such) in a consensus meeting.

   Results Top

We found that 17 (94.44%) of the 18 registries had a specific field requiring information on sharing of IPD. The European Union Clinical Trials Registry had no field to collect information on IPD statements. There is considerable heterogeneity in the manner of how trialists are required to record IPD data sharing intent in these 17 registries [Supplementary Data 2 available Online at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.20487870.v1]. The data captured in relation to IPD sharing complied with the ICMJE policy in only 4 (22.22%) registries – Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR), Clinical Trials Registry of India (CTRI), Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials (IRCT), and the US trial registry (ClinicalTrials.gov). Trial registries often did not capture one or more of the required data parameters of the ICMJE policy or had a free text option without structuring to capture all requisite data.

   Discussion Top

There has been progress with respect to IPD sharing information availability in trial registries, with all excepting one (Europe) having an IPD field. However, there is little consistency, with only four trial registries capturing data in a structured manner on all relevant parameters in concurrence with ICMJE policy. Audits of data sharing statements of published clinical trials indicate considerable confusion and uncertainty among trialists about what IPD data sharing entails.[4] The practical implication of this is the requirement of those seeking IPD for meta-analysis, secondary analysis, or reanalysis needing substantial resource and time investment to clarify trialist intent and process for sharing IPD data.[5] Clinical trial registries can play a key role in enabling this process. Structuring IPD data fields and their subfields in alignment with ICMJE standards with minimal use of free texts, as done by ANZCTR, CTRI, IRCT, and US trial registry, would ensure consistency. Clinical trial registries should additionally make their updated data dictionaries public and enable downloading of all IPD-related fields and subfields from their website to improve user functionality, enhance transparency, and enable an analysis of trial registry records.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Naudet F, Siebert M, Pellen C, Gaba J, Axfors C, Cristea I, et al. Medical journal requirements for clinical trial data sharing: Ripe for improvement. PLoS Med 2021;18:e1003844.  Back to cited text no. 1
Taichman DB, Backus J, Baethge C, Bauchner H, de Leeuw PW, Drazen JM, et al. Sharing clinical trial data: A proposal from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Ann Intern Med 2016;164:505-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
World Health Organization. WHO Data Set. World Health Organization. Available from: https://www.who.int/clinical-trials-registry-platform/network/who-data-set. [Last accessed on 2022 Mar 01].  Back to cited text no. 3
Ohmann C, Moher D, Siebert M, Motschall E, Naudet F. Status, use and impact of sharing individual participant data from clinical trials: A scoping review. BMJ Open 2021;11:e049228.  Back to cited text no. 4
Tudur Smith C, Nevitt S, Appelbe D, Appleton R, Dixon P, Harrison J, et al. Resource implications of preparing individual participant data from a clinical trial to share with external researchers. Trials 2017;18:319.  Back to cited text no. 5


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