UK creates international register for health and social care research

8 March 2011

The UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) has launched a new online facility, PROSPERO, an international register to improve the   transparency of health research.

PROSPERO is the first online facility to register systematic reviews for research about health and social care from all around the world. It is designed to avoid the duplication of health research and will act as a guard against selective reporting of research. The register, which is funded by the Department of Health, is completely free and open to the public.

Health Minister Lord Howe said: “The National Institute for Health Research is committed to providing the best possible evidence to inform decisions and choices for health and social care. I am therefore delighted that the NIHR is leading the international research community by making registration a requirement for all those researchers it commissions to undertake systematic reviews.”

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Director General of Research and Development at the Department of Health said: “We are supporting the development of PROSPERO because we think it’s important to establish mechanisms that guarantee integrity and maintain quality standards.

“I am also delighted that PROSPERO has been designed so it can be used internationally to promote best practice around the world. Duplication of systematic reviews is commonplace and it is increasingly important that knowledge is shared efficiently to maximise the use of available research resources worldwide.”

Professor Lesley Stewart, Director of the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, said: “A prospective register of systematic reviews submitted at the protocol stage will increase transparency and guard against selective reporting; making it obvious if the research that is published differs from what was planned at the outset.

“We have been delighted by the enthusiastic international response to the development of PROSPERO, having elicited support for registration from CIHR, INAHTA, NICE, the Cochrane and Campbell Collaborations and the Joanna Briggs initiative. This is truly an international collaborative effort.”

Further information

1. PROSPERO is a prospective register of systematic reviews of health and social care interventions produced and maintained by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination:

2. The Centre for Reviews and Dissemination is part of the National Institute for Health Research and a department of the University of York. The Centre produces and disseminates systematic reviews and associated economic analyses that evaluate the effects of health and social care interventions, and the delivery and organisation of health care:


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