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February 6, 1987

Sharing Research Data

Author Affiliations

Center for Health Administration Studies University of Chicago

Center for Health Administration Studies University of Chicago

JAMA. 1987;257(5):686-687. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390050112037

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To share or not to share behavioral and social science research data—why should JAMA review a book addressing this issue? After deliberation, it seems worthwhile for most physicians to consider the points raised in Sharing Research Data because, "some data-sharing problems in the biomedical sciences... are similar to those in the social sciences: for example, problems associated with large-scale, controlled clinical trials closely resemble those associated with large-scale social surveys" (p 6).

Furthermore, various problems raised will strike responsive cords depending on your major occupational activities. The clinician will empathize with the need to protect respondent-patient confidentiality. However, as a consumer of research, the clinician also stands to benefit from secondary research suggesting improved patient diagnosis and treatment. The researcher will understand the proprietary interests that the primary investigator has in the painstakingly collected data, and will also understand the appetite of the secondary investigator for using data collected by