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ObjectiveTo identify the availability of results for trials registered on the European Union Clinical Trials Register (EUCTR) compared with other dissemination routes to understand its value as a results repository.DesignCross sectional audit study.SettingEUCTR protocols and results sections, data extracted 1-3 December 2020.PopulationRandom sample of 500 trials registered on EUCTR with a completion date of more than two years from the beginning of searches (ie, 1 December 2018).Main outcome measuresProportion of trials with results across the examined dissemination routes (EUCTR,, ISRCTN registry, and journal publications), and for each dissemination route individually. Prespecified secondary outcomes were number and proportion of unique results, and the timing of results, for each dissemination route.ResultsIn the sample of 500 trials, availability of results on EUCTR (53.2%, 95% confidence interval 48.8% to 57.6%) was similar to the peer reviewed literature (58.6%, 54.3% to 62.9%) and exceeded the proportion of results available on other registries with matched records. Among the 383 trials with any results, 55 (14.4%, 10.9% to 17.9%) were only available on EUCTR. Also, after the launch of the EUCTR results database, median time to results was fastest on EUCTR (1142 days, 95% confidence interval 812 to 1492), comparable with journal publications (1226 days, 1074 to 1551), and exceeding (3321 days, 1653 to undefined). For 117 trials (23.4%, 19.7% to 27.1%), however, results were published elsewhere but not submitted to the EUCTR registry, and no results were located in any dissemination route for 117 trials (23.4%, 19.7% to 27.1).ConclusionsEUCTR should be considered in results searches for systematic reviews and can help researchers and the public to access the results of clinical trials, unavailable elsewhere, in a timely way. Reporting requirements, such as the EU's, can help in avoiding research waste by ensuring results are reported. The registry's true value, however, is unrealised because of inadequate compliance with EU guidelines, and problems with data quality that complicate the routine use of the registry. As the EU transitions to a new registry, continuing to emphasise the importance of EUCTR and the provision of timely and complete data is critical. For the future, EUCTR will still hold important information from the past two decades of clinical research in Europe. With increased efforts from sponsors and regulators, the registry can continue to grow as a source of results of clinical trials, many of which might be unavailable from other dissemination routes.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Medicine



Publication Date





e000738 - e000738