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Open Access to Data and Collaborative Partnerships to Advance Research

rachel-harding.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxDr. Rachel Harding, from the Structural Genomics Consortium, spoke with Dr. John O’Keefe about sharing scientific data publicly and in real time. Dr. Harding was recently featured in the media about sharing her lab notes in real time so other researchers can glimpse into research projects and avoid duplicating research studies. Her initiative is widely considered unprecedented in modern medical research where hording data, methods and results are the norm.





Photo credit: Melissa Hooper




  1. This is wonderful. It isn’t just snobbery that is a threat but the role of vested interests with very deep pockets and extensive tentacles that can block research and information that is contrary to accepted dogma and can delay progress. An example is how sugar and not fat is now blamed in part for the obesity epidemic. The sugar lobbyists won the first round and demonized fat. It is difficult for people working on a shoe string without grant money to accomplish much on their own. I am working on Lyme disease as an amateur and it is quit something to see how a very conservative core group of scientists at the CDC can claim ownership of the disease and all the processes around it. They refuse to admit that it can progress to a devastating chronic state if not treated adequately in its early stages. Keep up the good work!

  2. I wish you good luck in the endeavour. If Big Pharma is involved even peripherally, it will be a challenge as they will present roadblocks. And of course, with the woefully underfunded state of research in general (and dental research even moreso, and dental CLINICAL research to an even greater extent), each person seeking grant money is going to naturally be protective. But I think in my world of clinical orthodontics, this approach may be the only way of EVER getting anything that is even remotely close to evidence-based practice, with results that are potentially free of dogma, personal bias and practitioner variability. I am tired of seeing what are essentially literature reviews being pawned off as “real research” by people who are desperate to publish something to get their degree or maintain tenure. A significant amount of old clinical research is BS, and running it through the statistical analysis “meat grinder” is just giving us a finer grind of BS. Open access to clinical practitioner shared data may ultimately be the answer. Whether it’s even possible is a big question. Best of luck in your efforts.

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