Top journals to require data sharing

Wednesday, 27 Jan 2016


The world’s leading medical journals may require clinicians and academics to share their trial data as a condition of publication.

 In a joint editorial the International Committee of Medical Journal editors said researchers had an “ethical obligation” to share data as patients had put themselves at risk by taking part in trials.

“Enabling responsible data sharing is a major endeavor that will affect the fabric of how clinical trials are planned and conducted and how their data are used.

By changing the requirements of the manuscripts we will consider for publication in our journals, editors can help foster this endeavor,” they wrote.

Publication in the journals would require authors to share de-identified individual-patient data underlying the results presented in the article (including tables, figures, and appendices or supplementary material) no later than 6 months after publication.

The new requirements would come into effect a year after the committee adopted the plan.

The committee also proposes that authors include a plan for data sharing as part of clinical trial registration.

The plan must include details of where the data will be kept and, if not in a public repository, the way others can gain access to the data.

Feedback on the proposal can be made at www.icmje.org by 18 April 2016.

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