Pooling data from different pediatric studies can provide a single robust pharmacokinetic analysis that allows covariate analysis and hypothesis testing. Data sharing should be driven by the altruistic purpose of improving drug understanding to the clinical benefit of children. Electronic communications have rendered the sharing of data relatively easy, and data sharing within the wider scientific community has become commonplace. Data sharing allows verification of results, save costs and time, allows new interpretation of old data, and can fulfill teaching benefits. It may stimulate cooperative competition between researchers and allow individual researchers to concentrate on unique aspects of the scientific puzzle. However, there is occasionally a reluctance to share, in part because of fear of others stealing the hard work of a research group, which may not be recognized in subsequent publications that reuse data. Providing data may require additional effort for presentation in a suitable format. Data may be abused or used for purposes other than those for which they were collected. Propriety claims may limit access to industry-sponsored drug research. The question of who has ownership of data is contentious. Investigators often consider data they have collected to be their own property. Reputations and grants may be hinge on ownership of a data set. However, other team members, institutions, funding agencies, and the public also have a stake. The difficulties identified in the general scientific community also apply to data sharing for pediatric pharmacokinetic studies. There are few clearly established rules at present, and consideration of the issues hinges on ethical and philosophical arguments. The development of databases will depend on collaboration and cooperation and greater clarity and consensus over appropriate processes and procedures.
Link to access full article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1460-9592.2009.03051.x/abstract