Sharing Clinical Data

Aggregating and sharing data needs to be at the very heart of clinical research but a major barrier is the protection rightly afforded patients privacy. The question of who owns data is obvious at source, but as its aggregated that ownership becomes a lot less clear.

In Preparing Raw Clinical Data for Publication Trials Journal announces a new paper proposing some new gudance about sharing data for review and publication. There’s a link to download the paper.

These questions are specially interesting to us, because the proposed answers indicate the way forward for our Clinical Research Hub.

Here’s the abstract:

In recognition of the benefits of transparent reporting, many peer-reviewed journals require that their authors be prepared to share their raw, unprocessed data with other scientists and/or state the availability of raw data in published articles. But little information on how data should be prepared for publication – or sharing – has emerged. In clinical research patient privacy and consent for use of personal health information are key considerations, but agreed-upon definitions of what constitutes anonymised patient information do not appear to have been established. We aim to address this issue by providing practical guidance for those involved in the publication process, by proposing a minimum standard for de-identifying datasets for the purposes of publication in a peer-reviewed biomedical journal, or sharing with other researchers. Basic advice on file preparation is provided along with procedural guidance on prospective and retrospective publication of raw data, with an emphasis on randomised controlled trials. In order to encourage its wide dissemination this article is freely accessible on the BMJ and Trials journal web sites.

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