The cooperative landscape of multinational clinical trials

David Hsiehchen, Magdalena Espinoza, Antony Hsieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The scale and nature of cooperative efforts spanning geopolitical borders in clinical research have not been elucidated to date. In a cross-sectional study of 110,428 interventional trials registered in, we characterized the evolution, trial demographics, and network properties of multinational clinical research. We reveal that the relative growth of international collaboratives has remained stagnant in the last two decades, although clinical trials have evolved to become much larger in scale. Multinational clinical trials are also characterized by higher patient enrollments, industry funding, and specific clinical disciplines including oncology and infectious disease. Network analyses demonstrate temporal shifts in collaboration patterns between countries and world regions, with developing nations now collaborating more within themselves, although Europe remains the dominant contributor to multinational clinical trials worldwide. Performances in network centrality measures also highlight the differential contribution of nations in the global research network. A city-level clinical trial network analysis further demonstrates how collaborative ties decline with physical distance. This study clarifies evolving themes and highlights potential growth mechanisms and barriers in multinational clinical trials, which may be useful in evaluating the role of national and local policies in organizing transborder efforts in clinical endeavors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0130930
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 23 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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