One of the aims of the Pain Management Collaboratory Coordinating Center (PMC3) is to widely disseminate best practices and lessons learned from across the Pain Management Collaboratory pragmatic clinical trials to the pain research community. In support of this aim and to promote and contribute to sharing and transparency in research, the PMC recently joined GitHub – a web platform widely used by developers to share source code for projects.
A major challenge across all domains of medical research is the limited availability of study data and explicit descriptions of the methods used to generate results from these data, sometimes for many years after completion of a study. As such, increasing transparency and reproducibility in research has become a growing topic across medical research, with the idea that this will improve the credibility of the research conducted. Many journals now require statements on data availability, in efforts to promote study data access and improve the reproducibility of findings. Some publication outlets are also now requesting depositing of complete, de-identified study data in public-facing repositories to allow for independent analyses to accompany reported results.
The PMC GitHub project originates as a cross-Collaboratory effort involving the PMC3, the Phenotypes and Outcomes Work Group, the Electronic Health Records Work Group, the Data Sharing Work Group, and the Military Treatment Facility Engagement Committee. The PMC GitHub will allow for public sharing of source code and other resources potentially relevant to pain researchers. This public-facing GitHub account allows members of the general public to have access to repositories containing materials, such as relevant references or code (SQL, SAS, Python, etc.) used by PMC trials, PMC3 work groups, or PMC affiliates. The code may be useful in extracting or processing data from an electronic health record and/or from publicly available datasets, including those relevant for analyzing treatment effects in pragmatic clinical trials.
Additionally, the PMC3 has developed a process for reviewing potential additions to its GitHub to ensure that the material being shared is representative of scientific best practices and protects the privacy of Veterans and Military Service members enrolled in the pragmatic trials. This process includes thorough review of all posted materials to ensure that they do not contain sensitive data that are inappropriate for public sharing.
To access the Pain Management Collaboratory GitHub page, please visit www.github.com/painmanagementcollaboratory.