Evaluation of Data Sharing After Implementation of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Data Sharing Statement Requirement

Authors : Valentin Danchev, Yan Min, John Borghi, Mike Baiocchi, John P. A. Ioann


The benefits of responsible sharing of individual-participant data (IPD) from clinical studies are well recognized, but stakeholders often disagree on how to align those benefits with privacy risks, costs, and incentives for clinical trialists and sponsors.

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) required a data sharing statement (DSS) from submissions reporting clinical trials effective July 1, 2018. The required DSSs provide a window into current data sharing rates, practices, and norms among trialists and sponsors.


To evaluate the implementation of the ICMJE DSS requirement in 3 leading medical journals: JAMA, Lancet, and New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Design, Setting, and Participants

This is a cross-sectional study of clinical trial reports published as articles in JAMA, Lancet, and NEJM between July 1, 2018, and April 4, 2020. Articles not eligible for DSS, including observational studies and letters or correspondence, were excluded.

A MEDLINE/PubMed search identified 487 eligible clinical trials in JAMA (112 trials), Lancet (147 trials), and NEJM (228 trials). Two reviewers evaluated each of the 487 articles independently.


Publication of clinical trial reports in an ICMJE medical journal requiring a DSS.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The primary outcomes of the study were declared data availability and actual data availability in repositories. Other captured outcomes were data type, access, and conditions and reasons for data availability or unavailability. Associations with funding sources were examined.


A total of 334 of 487 articles (68.6%; 95% CI, 64%-73%) declared data sharing, with nonindustry NIH-funded trials exhibiting the highest rates of declared data sharing (89%; 95% CI, 80%-98%) and industry-funded trials the lowest (61%; 95% CI, 54%-68%).

However, only 2 IPD sets (0.6%; 95% CI, 0.0%-1.5%) were actually deidentified and publicly available as of April 10, 2020. The remaining were supposedly accessible via request to authors (143 of 334 articles [42.8%]), repository (89 of 334 articles [26.6%]), and company (78 of 334 articles [23.4%]).

Among the 89 articles declaring that IPD would be stored in repositories, only 17 (19.1%) deposited data, mostly because of embargo and regulatory approval. Embargo was set in 47.3% of data-sharing articles (158 of 334), and in half of them the period exceeded 1 year or was unspecified.

Conclusions and Relevance

Most trials published in JAMA, Lancet, and NEJM after the implementation of the ICMJE policy declared their intent to make clinical data available. However, a wide gap between declared and actual data sharing exists.

To improve transparency and data reuse, journals should promote the use of unique pointers to data set location and standardized choices for embargo periods and access requirements.

URL : Evaluation of Data Sharing After Implementation of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Data Sharing Statement Requirement

DOI :10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.33972

Influence and management of conflicts of interest in randomised clinical trials: qualitative interview study

Authors : Lasse Østengaard, Andreas Lundh, Tine Tjørnhøj-Thomsen, Suhayb Abdi, Mustafe H A Gelle, Lesley A Stewart, Isabelle Boutron, Asbjørn Hróbjartsson


To characterise and analyse the experiences of trial researchers of if and how conflicts of interest had unduly influenced clinical trials they had worked on, what management strategies they had used to minimise any potential influence, and their experiences and views on conflicts of interest more generally.


Qualitative interview study.


Trial researchers who had participated in at least 10 clinical trials with methodological or statistical expertise. Researchers differed by geographical location, educational background, and experience with different types of funders. Interviewees were identified by searches on Web of Science and snowball sampling. 52 trial researchers were approached by email; 20 agreed to be interviewed.


Interviews conducted by telephone, recorded, transcribed verbatim, imported to NVivo 12, and analysed by systematic text condensation. Semistructured interviews focused on financial and non-financial conflicts of interest.


The interviewees had participated in a median of 37.5 trials and were mainly male physicians who had experience with commercial and non-commercial trial funders. Two predefined themes (influence of conflicts of interest and management strategies) and two additional themes (definition and reporting of conflicts of interest) emerged.

Examples of perceived influence of conflicts of interest were: choice of inferior comparator, manipulation of the randomisation process, prematurely stopping the trials, fabrication of data, blocking access to data, and spin (eg, overly favourable interpretation of the results).

Examples of strategies to manage conflicts of interest were: disclosure procedures, exclusion of the funder from design and analysis, independent committees, contracts ensuring complete access to the data, and no restriction by the funder on analysis and reporting.

Interviewees used different definitions or thresholds for what they considered to be conflicts of interest, and they described different criteria for when to report them. Some interviewees considered non-commercial financial conflicts of interest (eg, funding of trials by governmental health agencies with a political agenda) to be equally or more important than commercial financial conflicts of interest (eg, funding by drug and device companies), but more challenging to report and manage.


This study described how trial researchers perceive conflicts of interest unduly influencing clinical trials they had worked on, and the management strategies they used to prevent these influences.

The results indicated considerable variability in researchers’ understanding of what conflicts of interest are and when they should be reported.

URL : Influence and management of conflicts of interest in randomised clinical trials: qualitative interview study

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3764

“Participant” Perceptions of Twitter Research Ethics

Authors : Casey Fiesler, Nicholas Proferes

Social computing systems such as Twitter present new research sites that have provided billions of data points to researchers. However, the availability of public social media data has also presented ethical challenges.

As the research community works to create ethical norms, we should be considering users’ concerns as well. With this in mind, we report on an exploratory survey of Twitter users’ perceptions of the use of tweets in research.

Within our survey sample, few users were previously aware that their public tweets could be used by researchers, and the majority felt that researchers should not be able to use tweets without consent.

However, we find that these attitudes are highly contextual, depending on factors such as how the research is conducted or disseminated, who is conducting it, and what the study is about. The findings of this study point to potential best practices for researchers conducting observation and analysis of public data.

URL : “Participant” Perceptions of Twitter Research Ethics

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305118763366