Help with using ISRCTN

How to register quickly and easily

  • Install browser spelling and grammar-checking add-ons such as Grammarly for Google Chrome
  • For help with specific fields read the definitions page and download our guidelines PDF
  • Choose online payment rather than invoice payment and your edited study record will be published online immediately on payment authorisation
  • If your study is eligible for NIHR-funded registration (eligibility criteria) you will need to make an application through the NIHR Portfolio (CPMS)
  • Please upload written third-party confirmation that your study exists (e.g. an ethics committee approval letter) or have it ready to send to us
  • If you require registration urgently (for instance the recruitment start date is within the next 7 days) email so that we can prioritise your submission

Common errors to avoid to speed up registration

  • Make sure that the public title and plain English summary are in plain English (i.e. suitable for a non-scientist to understand); the latter should include all the sections specified on the definitions page
  • Ensure that the primary and secondary outcome measures are in the required format of “[variable] measured using [method] at [timepoints]” in a numbered list
  • The study dates are usually five different dates and should be in the following order:
    • Overall study start date (start of study planning). If you’re not sure, please use the date of ethics committee submission.
    • Recruitment start date (first participant recruited/expected to be recruited)
    • Recruitment end date (last participant recruited/expected to be recruited)
    • Overall study end date (end of data collection)
    • Intention to publish date (expected date of results publication in a journal)

How to promote your study

How to manage a study if the original applicant or contact leaves

  • Once a study record has been registered, there is no need to use the applicant log-in
  • Any colleague can request an update or submit results
  • Please let us know about out-of-date contacts and ensure there is at least one valid contact

How to request an update

  • Ensure that any added or updated information follows the format of the original information and meets the requirements for that field (e.g. outcome measures should be in the required format of “[variable] measured using [method] at [timepoints]” in a numbered list)
  • Provide any missing information that was not provided at registration (e.g. ethics approval date, total final enrolment number, IPD sharing plan)
  • If you are updating one of your study dates please also update all of the later dates accordingly (e.g. if the recruitment end date is delayed please also update the overall study end date)

How to update a study that has been terminated early

Please let the ISRCTN team know whether the study started recruiting or not, and the number of participants recruited. We need to record a reason for termination. The options are:

  • Lack of funding/sponsorship
  • Lack of staff/facilities/resources
  • Objectives no longer viable
  • Participant recruitment issue
  • Other (this opens a free-text field so that an explanation can be provided)

Please let us know what is most appropriate and we will then set the study status to ‘Stopped’. If there were any results, you can provide a basic results summary.

How to submit your study results

  • If you have published your results in a journal please send a PubMed or DOI link
  • If you wish to add a basic results summary please follow the WHO's requested format
  • Please note that we cannot store datasets, so please send a link to your dataset in a suitable repository

How to search ISRCTN data

  • Use advanced search to search in specific fields and/or multiple fields simultaneously, then refine your search further by clicking on the facts in the sidebar on the left
  • Search results can be exported into a CSV file by clicking on ‘Download as CSV’ at the top of the search list - select all the fields you wish to include in the exported file
  • You can also retrieve data using the ISRCTN XML API. Please see our API documentation for more details
  • If you require further help collecting the data you need please contact the ISRCTN editors at

How to write data-sharing plans and data availability statements

  • The WHO requires you to include a plan stating your intentions regarding data sharing in the study record at registration. Please follow our guidelines
  • When necessary please update the plan and/or provide further details during and at the end of your study
  • At the results publication stage, journals often require data availability statements explaining how the study data can be accessed. For example, all Springer Nature journals now require data availability statements for original research
  • Read Springer Nature's guidance and examples of data availability statements for journal articles

How to share your data

  • To maximise use, data should be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). Please check the FAIR website for how to do this
  • Springer Nature journals (and many other journals) strongly encourage that all research data are made available to readers without undue restrictions
  • If your data cannot be shared openly, there are options for controlled sharing. Please see this guidance from the Springer Nature Research Data team
  • Read Springer Nature's examples of repositories that are suitable for health data
  • For further help with finding a suitable repository for your data, you can contact the Springer Nature Research Data helpdesk using this form, whether or not you intend to submit a manuscript to a Springer Nature journal
  • You should include the ISRCTN number in the data file to clearly link the study and the data
  • Links to data shared in repositories or in publications should be added to your ISRCTN record’s study outputs table