A University of Portsmouth academic has contributed to a new national strategy to ensure that information about health and social care research – including COVID-19 research - is made publicly available.

Dr Simon Kolstoe was part of the UK-wide expert group who helped to develop the Make it Public strategy for the Health Research Authority, which was launched last week.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of publicly sharing the details and results of research. This is important to understand the virus and determine which tests, treatments and vaccines will be most effective.

The new Make it Public strategy aims to build on this good practice and make it easy for researchers to be transparent about their work.

Dr Kolstoe, who is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, said: “Research is useless unless the results are clearly communicated. For too long pharmaceutical companies and others have been able to hide results that they do not like. This new strategy, from a national regulator, will help to ensure that all research critical for medical and other decision making is made available to those who need to see it.”

Only to be used in relation to Simon Kolstoe's work

Research is useless unless the results are clearly communicated.

Dr Simon Kolstoe, Senior Lecturer in Evidence Based Healthcare

The strategy, delivered by the HRA in partnership with NHS Research Scotland (NRS), Health and Care Research Wales and Health and Social Care Northern Ireland, is about making transparency ‘the norm’ in research and making information more visible to the public.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, said: “Transparency and openness is essential in making the most of the commitment of patients, service users and healthy volunteers who take part in research. By disseminating research findings widely, we also enable further research and provide a strong evidence base for commissioning services and making health and care policy.

“The Make it Public strategy signals our ambition for research transparency in the UK. Its vision of trusted information from health and social care research studies being publicly available for the benefit of all is one that we can all share.”

Dr Kolstoe was also recently announced as chair of PHE’s Research Ethics and Governance of Group (REGG), which was established to help regulate the work of 5,500 scientists, researchers and public health professionals.