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January 2017

Incentivizing Data Sharing and Collaboration in Medical Research—The S-Index

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York
JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(1):5-6. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.2610

Sharing research data is a widely embraced ideal of academic medicine. Providing broad access to research data has the potential to stimulate progress in medical science and improve public health by revealing previously overlooked critical information and reducing redundant work. Making data available to peers also encourages researchers to improve the quality of their data collection, helps uncover errors, and increases the reproducibility and confidence of findings. In addition to economic benefits of leveraging data collection costs, sharing data upholds the moral imperative to honor the sacrifices of research participants.1 Yet investigators currently have little incentive to share their data with colleagues. A simple measure of each investigator’s success in sharing his or her research data with colleagues would incentivize greater collaboration among medical researchers.