To identify the similarities and differences in data-sharing policies for clinical trial data that are endorsed by biomedical journals, funding agencies, and other professional organizations. Additionally, to determine the beliefs, and opinions regarding data-sharing policies for clinical trials discussed in articles published in biomedical journals.
Two searches were conducted, a bibliographic search for published articles that present beliefs, opinions, similarities, and differences regarding policies governing the sharing of clinical trial data. The second search analyzed the gray literature (non-peer-reviewed publications) to identify important data-sharing policies in selected biomedical journals, foundations, funding agencies, and other professional organizations.
A total of 471 articles were included after database search and screening, with 45 from the bibliographic search and 426 from the gray literature search. A total of 424 data-sharing policies were included. Fourteen of the 45 published articles from the bibliographic search (31.1%) discussed only advantages specific to data-sharing policies, 27 (27/45; 60%) discussed both advantages and disadvantages, and 4 (4/45; 8.9%) discussed only disadvantages specific. A total of 216 journals (of 270; 80%) specified a data-sharing policy provided by the journal itself. One hundred industry data-sharing policies were included, and 32 (32%) referenced a data-sharing policy on their website. One hundred and thirty-six (42%) organizations (of 327) specified a data-sharing policy.
We found many similarities listed as advantages to data-sharing and fewer disadvantages were discussed within the literature. Additionally, we found a wide variety of commonalities and differences — such as the lack of standardization between policies, and inadequately addressed details regarding the accessibility of research data — that exist in data-sharing policies endorsed by biomedical journals, funding agencies, and other professional organizations. Our study may not include information on all data sharing policies and our data is limited to the entities’ descriptions of each policy.