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April 17, 2002

Withholding of Data Among Academic Geneticists

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;287(15):1939-1940. doi:10.1001/jama.287.15.1935

To the Editor: Dr Campbell and colleagues1 report that academic geneticists frequently withhold data from their colleagues. The authors' methods, however, allow only limited evaluation of current practices.

The authors' survey questions presume that data sharing can only take the form of a request from one scientist to another. The authors did not assess other types of data sharing, such as the use of data infrastructures. This issue is likely to be especially important in academic genetics, which is considered the most advanced field in terms of integration of informatics and databases in research, from data collection to submission at the moment of publication.2 Furthermore, their sample was made up of researchers from institutions most heavily funded by the National Institutes of Health, which, along with the National Science Foundation, has a vigorous data-sharing policy,3 encouraging the use of public databases for mapping and sequencing data.4