Race and ethnicity reporting for clinical trials in ClinicalTrials.gov and publications

Contemp Clin Trials. 2021 Feb:101:106237. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2020.106237. Epub 2020 Dec 5.


Inclusion and subsequent reporting of minority participants in clinical trials are critical for ensuring external validity and detecting differences among subgroups, however reports suggest that ongoing gaps persist. ClinicalTrials.gov began requiring the reporting of race/ethnicity information (if collected) during results submission for trials in April 2017. For this study, we downloaded and compared trial race/ethnicity information from ClinicalTrials.gov submitted before (N = 3540) and after (N = 3542) the requirement date. We found that 42.0% of pre-requirement trials compared to 91.4% of post-requirement trials reported race/ethnicity information in ClinicalTrials.gov; 8.6% of post-requirement trials indicated race/ethnicity information was not collected. Use of NIH/U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) classification categories was slightly higher in the post-requirement (77.1%) compared to pre-requirement (72.8%) samples. Additionally, we examined two 10% random samples of post-requirement trials - one with customized race/ethnicity reporting in ClinicalTrials.gov and the other with corresponding results publications available in PubMed. In the first random sample, 95.9% of customized categories included race information and 52.7% included ethnicity information. In the other random sample, 33.1% had a corresponding results publication, of which 62.4% reported race/ethnicity information in the publication. Among trials without published race/ethnicity information, 90.0% reported race/ethnicity information on ClinicalTrials.gov. This analysis demonstrates that the requirement has advanced public availability of information on the inclusion of minorities in research, but that further work remains to systematically ensure collection and complete reporting of race/ethnicity information.

Keywords: Clinical trials; ClinicalTrials.gov; Race and ethnicity; Results reporting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Ethnicity*
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups
  • Research Design*