What is the Role of Cardiology in Data Sharing?

Increased data sharing is transforming both research and practice in cardiology as it fits into the broader open-science movement and ultimately benefits clinical care, according to a technology corner article published Dec. 11 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Pranammya Dey, et al., examine the reason behind sharing clinical research data and discuss key initiatives that have enhanced greater sharing of data. They also describe how data sharing is especially important in cardiology, given its history of gathering evidence for knowledge creation and secondary data analysis.

The authors explain that unanswered questions remain in many clinical trials and certain information is often left out. They note that "withholding data, positive or negative, can cause harm," and that withholding data can also prevent independent investigators from detecting errors in previously published studies.

However, due to groups such as the Academic Research Organization Consortium for Continuing Evaluation of Scientific Studies, which comes together to advocate for sharing and standards, the move toward sharing clinical trial data is progressing.

Organizations such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have also promoted clinical trial data sharing. For example, since many trial results previously went unreported, the NIH requires all trials that it partly or fully funds to be registered and report summary results.

Furthermore, in order to continue increasing data sharing and reward those for doing so, the authors explain that new incentive structures will be necessary. They provide suggestions for moving forward such as acknowledging the original producers of data in publications; providing funding for sharing data; giving credit for data sharing in academic promotions; reimbursing health systems that share data with patients and researchers; and creating a standardized recognition system for data generators.

The authors conclude that "the revolution in data sharing that has transformed domains ranging from physics to genetics is just beginning for clinical medicine." They add, "as we move toward a world of open data, cardiology has the opportunity to lead and, in so doing, to serve as a model for all of medicine."

Keywords: Research Personnel, Information Dissemination, Motivation, United States Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health (U.S.), Research Report, Publications, Reward, Financial Management, Physics

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