Date of this Version
The New England Journal of Medicine 375:401-403 (August 4, 2016). DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1607282
Data sharing has incredible potential to strengthen academic research, the practice of medicine, and the integrity of the clinical trial system. Some benefits are obvious: when researchers have access to complete data, they can answer new questions, explore different lines of analysis, and more efficiently conduct large-scale analyses across trials. Other advantages, such as providing a guardrail against conflicts of interest in a clinical trial system in which external sponsorship of research is common and necessary, are less visible yet just as critical. I appreciate that there are many policy, privacy, and practical issues that need to be addressed in order to make data sharing practical and useful for the research community, but the stakes are too high to step back in the face of that challenge.
Data sharing holds incredible promise for strengthening the practice of medical research and the integrity of our clinical trial system. I look forward to following these proposals as they continue to develop and urging their implementation.