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February 2000

The Analysis of Clinical Research: Mandatory Submission of Data SetsJournal Editors Should Not Require Complete Data Sets for Independent Scrutiny

Arch Ophthalmol. 2000;118(2):275. doi:10.1001/archopht.118.2.275

DR WILHELMUS believes that an author submitting a manuscript to a journal should also be required to provide the data sets that were used to generate the study results. He cites 2 primary purposes for this: first, to allow for independent review of analyses and, second, to allow for the advancement of medical knowledge by permitting other researchers to use the data for additional analyses.

We will address the second of these purposes first. We do not believe that it is the journal's responsibility to require that data sets from the studies it publishes are made available to other researchers. Although we are in full agreement that, whenever possible, researchers should share their data with others (and we practice what we preach), we do not believe that publication of a manuscript should necessarily be dependent on the release of the data set. Privacy and proprietary issues may be relevant in some cases. For federally sponsored research, the Office of Management and Budget may require that data must be made available under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

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