Introduction: The global burden of injury is enormous, especially in developing countries. Trauma systems in highincome countries have reduced mortality and disability. An important component of trauma quality improvement programmes is the trauma registry which monitors the epidemiology, processes and outcomes of trauma care. There is a severe deficit of trauma registries in developing countries and there are few resources to support the development of trauma registries. Specifically, publicly available information of trauma registry methodology in developed trauma registries is sparse. The aim of this study was to describe and compare trauma registries globally. Methods: A survey of trauma registry custodians was conducted. Purposive sampling was used to select trauma registries following a structured review of the literature. Registries for which there were at least two included abstracts over the five-year period were defined as active and selected. Following piloting and revision, a detailed survey covering physical and human resources, administration and methodology was distributed. The survey responses were analysed; single hospital and multi-hospital registries were compared. Results: Eighty-four registries were emailed the survey. Sixty-five trauma registries participated, giving a response rate of 77 . Of the 65 participating registries, 40 were single hospital registries and 25 were multi-hospital registries. Fifteen countries were represented; more than half of the participating registries were based in the USA. There was considerable variation in resourcing and methodology between registries. A trauma registry most commonly had at least three staff, reported to both the hospital and government, included more than 1000 cases annually, listed admission, death and transfer amongst inclusion criteria, mandated collection of more than 100 data elements, used AIS Version 2005 (2008 update) and used age, the Glasgow Coma Scale and the Injury Severity Score for injury severity adjustment. Conclusion: Whilst some characteristics were common across many trauma registries, the resourcing and methodology varied markedly. The common features identified may serve as a guide to those looking to establish a trauma registry. However much remains to be done for trauma registries to determine the best standardised approach.