In partnership with the Yale University Open Data Access (YODA) Project, Johnson & Johnson recently announced its intention to release full clinical trial data to the public for the first time. YODA project director and Yale School of Medicine professor Dr. Harlan Krumholz has called this decision “an extraordinary donation to society.”
This initiative will allow YODA to conduct a third-party review of any request for access to Johnson & Johnson’s clinical data, and the company will cede authority over any subsequent release decisions. As Krumholz explained in a January press release, “this is a remarkable action by Johnson & Johnson that should accelerate the movement of the clinical research enterprise toward more cooperative learning and sharing.”
With this announcement, Johnson & Johnson will become the YODA Project’s second organizational partner, following earlier collaboration with the medical device company Medtronic in 2011. This partnership allowed YODA to conduct an independent assessment of one of Medtronic’s products, designed to stimulate bone growth.
Currently, the field of clinical research faces major transparency issues. Over half of all clinical trials are never published, and for those that are, the release of accompanying data is rare. Such opacity can inhibit the ability of doctors and scientific policymakers to make fully informed decisions when evaluating clinical discoveries and the resulting products. If successful, YODA and similar projects will help to facilitate access to industry data in the name of open science.