Objective Following the reforms in 1985 in which medical education was integrated into the National Health Service, we have witnessed an increase in teaching, training, and research capacity, improvement in quality of services, and a major boost in medical research in Iran. Following the surge in research activity, the need for public registration of clinical trials was raised within academic circles, particularly after the initiative by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors in 2004.
Method In line with this global movement, the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials was developed by a team of Iranian researchers with support from the Ministry of Health and Medical Education.
Results In our experience, the challenges for developing a national registry for clinical trials are: (i) choosing a committed, versatile leader with the skills and expertise to work and communicate with a variety of stakeholders and other people involved in the process; (ii) securing the necessary resources and political support to minimize resistance and act as a positive force for implementing changes; (iii) developing strong liaison between the information technology team and website administrators to develop a highly functioning website; and (iv) developing the culture of transparency within society in general, and the research community in particular, which goes far beyond setting up a registry.
Conclusion The Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials has made a good start, and should fulfill its mission of providing an accessible source of information for the general public and researchers. This is the goal we have set ourselves.