International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP)

Unique numbering system for clinical trials

A new system will make clinical trials easier to identify, says WHO.

To improve the transparency of scientific research, WHO has established a system of assigning a number to each clinical trial to make it easier to uniquely identify trials through its International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP).

The unique number will also make it possible to track trials that are taking place in several countries and at different institutions.

Davina Ghersi, Team Leader of WHO's ICTRP, said many trials currently have several registration numbers depending on how many countries are participating. With the unique number, called a Universal Trial Number (UTN), the global research and publishing community will be able to identify studies with reasonable confidence.

"Until now, information on the same study could be submitted to multiple databases by different people in slightly different ways. This makes it difficult to see if they are multiple trials or one trial with multiple records. The UTN will change this.

"The UTN will help us to unambiguously identify a trial by enabling us to link multiple records on the same trial through the ICTRP search portal," she said.

"Researchers should obtain a UTN through the ICTRP website http://www.who.int/trialsearch/utn.aspx as soon as a trial becomes a serious proposition," she added.

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