Clinical trials in radiology and data sharing: results from a survey of the European Society of Radiology (ESR) research committee

Eur Radiol. 2019 Sep;29(9):4794-4802. doi: 10.1007/s00330-019-06105-y. Epub 2019 Feb 27.


Objectives: To determine the current situation and future directions of clinical trials and data sharing in radiology.

Methods: This survey was conducted between July and September 2018 among European heads of imaging departments and speakers at the Clinical Trials in Radiology sessions at ECR 2015-2018. The survey was approved by the ESR research committee, was administered online, and chi-square tests were used.

Results: The overall response rate was 29% (132/460). Responses were received from institutions in 29 countries. These institutions reported having conducted 429 trials, leading to 332 publications, of which 43% were first and 44% were last authorships by those institutions. For future trials, 98% of respondents (93/95) said they would be interested in sharing data, although only 34% had shared data already (23/68, p < 0.001). The major barriers to data sharing were data protection (78%, 74/95), ethical issues (49%, 47/95), and the lack of a data sharing platform (49%, 47/95). Of the respondents, 89% believed a platform would facilitate data sharing (85/95 vs. 10/95 did not, p < 0.001) and should offer easy data uploading (74%, 70/95), data safety (66%, 63/95), easy communication between providers and re-users (62%, 59/95), and data access policies (56%, 53/95).

Conclusion: A considerable number of imaging trials are being performed and published by radiologists in Europe whilst data sharing is hardly taking place, despite great interest. This is most likely due to data protection and ethical issues, as well as the absence of a data sharing platform.

Key points: • Radiologists have performed a considerable number of more than 400 imaging trials in the last 5 years. • Although only 34% of institutions had shared trial data already, 98% are interested in doing so. • Major data sharing barriers are ethics, data protection, and the absence of a sharing platform.

Keywords: Clinical trial; Diagnostic imaging; Information dissemination; Randomized controlled trial; Surveys and questionnaires.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Europe
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Radiology*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires