UK Government

Department of Health (National): Lord Howe announces International Register for Health Research

Press Release   •   Feb 22, 2011 11:36 GMT

Register to Promote Transparency and Prevent Duplication

A major global initiative to establish an international register that will improve the transparency of health research was launched today by Health Minister Lord Howe.

The register is called PROSPERO, the first online facility to register systematic reviews for research about health and social care from all around the world. The register is completely free and open to the public. It was started by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) which is funded by the Department of Health.

The register is designed to avoid the duplication of health research and will act as a guard against selective reporting of research.

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.”

Notes to editors

1. Systematic reviews provide the best quality evidence to support decision making in health and social care for policy and practice. Systematic reviews adhere to a strict scientific design based on explicit, pre-specified and reproducible methods. When carried out well, they provide reliable estimates about the effects of interventions.

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

3. 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. Further information can be obtained from Paul Wilson, Tel: 01904 321040 or

4. The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients.

5. For media enquiries only, please contact the Department of Health news desk on 020 7210 5221.


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