The GMC on data archiving
Jan 15, 2009
Bishop Hill in Climate, Ethics

Medical science is a long way ahead of climatology on ethics, and the area of data archiving is no exception. Here is a quote from the UK General Medical Council's Standards Section.

Doug Altman, Cancer Research UK Medical Statistics Group: ‘‘Misconduct is the tip of a large problem.We shouldn’t forget that we should see this as part of a general effort to improve the quality and relevance of research, and arguably reduce the body of it.’’

But he said one of the factors hampering investigations was the lack of raw data and relevant documentation, the archiving of which should be mandatory for researchers. Employers should take on this responsibility, he said. There were also valid research reasons for the preservation of data. ‘‘It seems to me unbelievable and completely unacceptable that people can do research using public money and yet throw away the data. We could consider a failure to keep the data as research misconduct.

(Emphasis added)

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