Guiding Principles

Guiding principles

These guiding principles are intended to guide health-related research funders as they conduct their organizational activities in order to increase the value of the research they fund (reference Consensus statement). The necessary actions, if any, required to work towards these guiding principles will be different for different funders. For some principles, what we need to do is already clear; for others we have work to do. The examples are intended to be illustrations of how a funder might adhere to the principles, within the limits of their capabilities or the nature of the research they fund, and is not an exhaustive list.


Justifiable research priorities

Principle 1: Health-related research agendas and priorities should be set with the meaningful involvement of those who will use and be affected by health-related research.


Robust research design, conduct and analysis

Principle 2: Research should only be funded if set in the context of one or more existing systematic reviews of what is already known or an otherwise robust demonstration of a research gap.

Principle 3: Funders should take into account advances in research methodology and fund new research only if adequate steps have been taken to reduce bias.


Regulation and management of research conduct proportionate to risks

Principle 4: Selection and conduct of research should be actively managed in a risk proportionate way, consistent with applicable human subjects research laws, regulations, and ethical guidance.


All information on research methods and findings accessible and all reports are complete and usable

Principle 5: Studies should be registered in an appropriate, design-relevant publicly accessible registry at study inception whenever possible.

Principle 6: Research questions, methods, materials, analysis plans or sequence of analytical choices for all studies should be made available as early as possible and preferably near or before the start of the study or analysis. Any deviation from the original plans should be documented.

Principle 7: All studies should report methods and findings in full, following credible and justifiable reporting guidelines. This applies irrespective of the nature of the findings and whether the study completed as planned.

Principle 8: When appropriate and when it will add value to evidence users, replication, reanalysis, and reuse of data from studies should be supported and facilitated.

Principle 9: New evidence should be placed in the context of existing knowledge to inform appropriate interpretation and use of findings. When appropriate and when it will add value to evidence users, systematic reviews should be updated following primary research.

Principle 10: Research knowledge that can lead to benefit should be effectively disseminated to end users. Where appropriate, the usage of new knowledge should be supported and facilitated.


Implementation of guiding principles