BRISSKit: Connecting researchers with clinical data

As the UK government takes steps to realise the value of the NHS's clinical data, the need to overcome the barriers between patients and researchers increases. The University of Leicester's BRISSKit project is addressing these issues with the development of an integrated, open-source software support platform.

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The case for open data: the Duke clinical trials

A recent story in the Times Higher Educational Supplement, backed up by leader comment, provides a highly readable summary of a long and complex case of flawed clinical research and the difficulties encountered by those trying to expose the flaws. It also provides a strong argument for being open with data and code at an early stage, even where sensitive data is involved.

Since this research involved cancer chemotherapy, the lives of people and their quality of life whilst undergoing treatment potentially depended on the truth of the research findings. As the article shows, falsifying the findings would have been far easier and quicker had the original data, and the methods used to analyse it, been made available from the outset. Expensive clinical trials could have been avoided. Potentially, better treatments could have been brought to trial more quickly once the false promise of this particular intervention was clear.

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