UK publicly funded Clinical Trials Units supported a controlled access approach to share individual participant data but highlighted concerns

J Clin Epidemiol. 2016 Feb:70:17-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.07.002. Epub 2015 Jul 11.


Objectives: Evaluate current data sharing activities of UK publicly funded Clinical Trial Units (CTUs) and identify good practices and barriers.

Study design and setting: Web-based survey of Directors of 45 UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC)-registered CTUs.

Results: Twenty-three (51%) CTUs responded: Five (22%) of these had an established data sharing policy and eight (35%) specifically requested consent to use patient data beyond the scope of the original trial. Fifteen (65%) CTUs had received requests for data, and seven (30%) had made external requests for data in the previous 12 months. CTUs supported the need for increased data sharing activities although concerns were raised about patient identification, misuse of data, and financial burden. Custodianship of clinical trial data and requirements for a CTU to align its policy to their parent institutes were also raised. No CTUs supported the use of an open access model for data sharing.

Conclusion: There is support within the publicly funded UKCRC-registered CTUs for data sharing, but many perceived barriers remain. CTUs are currently using a variety of approaches and procedures for sharing data. This survey has informed further work, including development of guidance for publicly funded CTUs, to promote good practice and facilitate data sharing.

Keywords: Clinical trial; Clinical trial unit; Data sharing; IPD; Individual participant data; Publicly funded.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic / economics*
  • Confidentiality
  • Financial Support*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Organizational Policy
  • Research Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom