Invited Commentary: Standards, Inputs, and Outputs-Strategies for Improving Data-Sharing and Consortia-Based Epidemiologic Research

Am J Epidemiol. 2022 Jan 1;191(1):159-162. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwab217.


Data-sharing improves epidemiologic research, but the sharing of data frustrates epidemiologic researchers. The inefficiencies of current methods and options for data-sharing are increasingly documented and easily understood by any study group that has shared its data and any researcher who has received shared data. In this issue of the Journal, Temprosa et al. (Am J Epidemiol. 2021;191(1):147-158) describe how the Consortium of Metabolomics Studies (COMETS) developed and deployed a flexible analytical platform to eliminate key pain points in large-scale metabolomics research. COMETS Analytics includes an online tool, but its cloud computing and technology are the supporting rather than the leading actors in this script. The COMETS team identified the need to standardize diverse and inconsistent metabolomics and covariate data and models across its many participating cohort studies, and then developed a flexible tool that gave its member studies choices about how they wanted to meet the consortium's analytical requirements. Different specialties will have different specific research needs and will probably continue to use and develop an array of diverse analytical and technical solutions for their projects. COMETS Analytics shows how important-and enabling-the upstream attention to data standards and data consistency is to producing high-quality metabolomics, consortia-based, and large-scale epidemiology research.

Keywords: common data model; data analysis; data harmonization; data pooling; epidemiologic methods; metabolomics; prospective studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Metabolomics*
  • Reference Standards