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Investigation of Data Sharing in the Context of a Meta-Analysis

Sharing individual participant data (IPD) among researchers, upon request, is an ethical and responsible practice. Despite numerous calls for this practice to be normalized, primary study authors are often unwilling to share IPD, even for use in meta-analyses. In this study, Joshua Polanin and Mary Terzian provide an explanation of why primary study authors are unwilling to share their data, and evaluate whether sending a data-sharing agreement affects participants’ willingness to share IPD.
They sampled and surveyed more than 700 researchers whose studies had been included in recently published meta-analyses, splitting the sample into a control and and treatment groups and using a hypothetical data-sharing agreement as an intervention. The results suggest that data sharing agreements improve researchers’ willingness to share IPD. These findings can inform future meta-analysis projects seeking to collect IPD, and provide insight on data-sharing practices and barriers in general. Results forthcoming.

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