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Data for: Open COVID Trials (OCT) Project

Cite this dataset

Borghi, John et al. (2022). Data for: Open COVID Trials (OCT) Project [Dataset]. Dryad.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought substantial attention to the systems used to communicate biomedical research. In particular, the need to rapidly and credibly communicate research findings has led many stakeholders to encourage researchers to adopt open science practices such as posting preprints and sharing data. To examine the degree to which this has led to the actual adoption of such practices, we examined the “openness” of a sample of 539 published papers describing the results of randomized controlled trials testing interventions to prevent or treat COVID-19. The majority (56%) of the papers in this sample were free to read at the time of our investigation and 23.56% were preceded by preprints. However, there is no guarantee that the papers without an open license will be available without a subscription in the future, and only 49.61% of the preprints we identified were linked to the subsequent peer-reviewed version. Of the 331 papers in our sample with statements identifying if (and how) related datasets were available, only a paucity indicated that data was available in a repository that facilitates rapid verification and reuse. Our results demonstrate that, while progress has been made, there is still a significant mismatch between aspiration and actual practice in the adoption of open science in an important area of the COVID-19 literature.


Data was pulled from publicly available sources (e.g. Unpaywall) and from manual inspection of the papers themselves. Instructions for members of the research team have been uploaded to -

Usage notes

The data files are stored in an open file format and should be readable by most data analysis/visualization tools.