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Britain's NIHR tops league for avoiding research waste

Britain’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has the strongest policies to reduce research waste, an assessment of major health funding agencies worldwide has found.

On the positive side, all funding agencies covered require registration of clinical trials before recruitment of patients. In contrast, “only six of the 11 funding agencies are explicit that they require publication of full reports of the research they have funded”. Out of 11 funders covered by the assessment, NIHR is the only one to require public access to full research protocols, the study team reported. Surprisingly, NIHR is also the only funder to require systematic reviews of existing evidence.

“No funder has a comprehensive strategy to make available full datasets of all research projects,” the study team concluded. “Our survey shows that information on the policies and processes used by research funding agencies to reduce waste and support methodological research and research infrastructure is generally not transparent or readily available.”

The assessment was conducted by Mona Nasser, Mike Clarke, Iain Chalmers, Kjetil Gundro Brurberg, Hanna Nykvist, Hans Lund, and Paul Glasziou. They summarized their findings in an article in the Lancet published on 11 March 2017. An accompanying appendix contains the full data set.

In the video below, Mona Nasser explains their research and why it matters.

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