Endorsement of Data Sharing by Authors and High-Impact Medical Journals in China: A Survey of Authors and Assessment of Journal Online Instructions

Yuanyuan Ji,1 Limin Chen,1 Xiuyuan Hao,2 Ningning Wang,1 Yalin Bao1

Objective To demonstrate that sharing data will increase confidence and trust in the conclusions drawn from clinical trials and avoid unwarranted repetition. This study was conducted to assess the endorsement of data sharing by authors and medical journals in China.

Design An electronic questionnaire was distributed via email between February 1, 2017 and February 13, 2017, to 438 corresponding authors of Chinese Medical Journal who published articles in 2016. The questionnaire contained 4 questions: (1) Have you ever published articles in international journals covered by the Science Citation Index (SCI)?; (2) Did you know about the requirements for sharing raw data for clinical trials before taking this survey?; (3) Do you endorse data sharing for clinical trials? If not, please state the reasons; and (4) Have you ever shared raw data through a data repository? The information obtained from the responses was extracted and analyzed by the χ2 test to determine data sharing awareness and behavior between authors who published articles in international journals and those who published only in Chinese journals. We also investigated the websites of 111 high-impact journals hosted by the Chinese Medical Association to review their instructions for authors and editorial statements.

Results A total of 247 authors (56.4%) of 438 responded. Of these, 132 authors (53%) had published in international journals while 115 (47%) had only published in Chinese journals. Eighty-eight authors (35.6%) reported that they knew about data sharing, 215 (87%) stated that they endorsed data sharing, and 29 (11.7%) had shared raw data. Compared with authors who had published articles in international journals, those who published only in Chinese journals showed significantly lower data sharing awareness rates and behavior; however, no significant difference was found between the 2 groups regarding the endorsement rate (Table). The authors who did not endorse data sharing were mostly concerned about the misuse of their research data. Only 2 of 111 journals (1.8%) suggested that authors should share raw data and instructed ways to deposit data consistent with the policies of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

Conclusions Most authors in China endorse data sharing; however, there is not a high rate of data sharing awareness and behavior. Authors who have published in international journals showed higher rates of data sharing awareness and behavior than those who have published only in Chinese journals. Medical journals in China should make efforts to help foster data sharing.

1Chinese Medical Journal, Chinese Medical Association, Beijing, China, jiyy@cma.org.cn; 2Chronic Diseases and Translational Medicine, Chinese Medical Association, Beijing, China

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Funding/Support: None reported.

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