July 19, 2018
3 min read

Vivli launches data-sharing platform to advance clinical research

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The nonprofit organization Vivli launched a new data-sharing and analytics platform today that will advance clinical research by streamlining the process to discover, aggregate, analyze and share data from clinical trials.

Julie Wood, director of strategy and operations at Vivli, said the platform will benefit research across a wide range of medical specialties.

“The Vivli data-sharing platform is putting big data into action, enabling the integration of large-scale datasets from a large number of trials funded by stakeholders, industry, academia and nonprofits,” she told Infectious Disease News. “What makes this different is that data can come from multiple sources, bringing researchers closer and faster to better solutions.”

According to Vivli Executive Director Rebecca Li, PhD, many clinical data are private or not integrated across the entire clinical research network. The new platform, she said, will help address this issue and serve as a gateway to thousands of trials worldwide.

At the time of the launch, the Vivli data-sharing platform included 2,500 studies submitted by 15 organizations. The anonymized data are from more than 1.3 million trial participants in 98 countries. The studies examine numerous conditions, including malaria, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Li said the number of clinical trials available on the platform will likely increase in the coming months.

The data-sharing platform is powered by Microsoft. Vivli users can search the secure platform using keywords for medical conditions, interventions and participant outcomes. The search results produce brief summaries of the trials. Users can request access to full datasets through Vivli. A request is approved if the user has a valid scientific question that can be answered with the requested data, Li said. However, trial contributors may have their own criteria for approval, which Li said is explained in more detail on the website.

After a request for data is approved, users can access the data and use analytic tools to combine and study multiple datasets. All completed research projects using Vivli are assigned a DOI. Li noted that researchers can use the platform as a source to meet their publication requirements. She said the data-sharing platform will not only be useful to trial contributors, whose data can be more accessible, and researchers, who will be able to have access to data, but it will also benefit trial participants.

“We know that patients would like their data to be used more than one time,” she said. “Our mission is to do as much as we can to make the most of their contribution, and we believe that there is an ethical mandate to do so.”


In addition, Li said the platform may represent a solution to emerging data-sharing requirements. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors recently demanded that researchers share underlying data from their published findings. Some government and nonprofit grant funders also call for data-sharing. In 2015, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation created an open access policy that requires study results from funded trials to be published in an open access journal, so they are broadly available to the scientific community, Steven Kern, PhD, deputy director of quantitative sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said during a press conference. Although these data are accessible, they are located in multiple different sources. Kern said the Vivli platform will allow researchers to synthesize data across various repositories for easier access.

“Why does this matter? Well, a lot of the conditions that we work on for patients in low- and middle-income countries are from sites where it is very difficult to collect data,” he said. “By being able to merge this information together, we feel we can gain more insight and advance science faster.”

Kern added that the data-sharing platform will help prevent researchers from duplicating clinical research trials and placing patients at risk for information that may already exist, “but is undiscoverable because it is locked away in someone’s filing cabinet.”

“This improves the overall biomedical science field,” he said.

The cost to share data on Vivli is similar to the cost for publication, according to Li. It is approximately $2,000 to share a single dataset if the contributor does not require a review panel. User cost is “nominal” and does not kick in until after about 1 year, depending on configuration, Li said. It is always free to search and request data.

“Researchers: We invite you to log onto Vivli starting today and explore the more than 2,500 clinical trials that have been shared, so far,” Li said. “This is only the beginning. Begin your search. We look forward to hearing from you soon.” – by Stephanie Viguers

For more information:

Vivli. https://vivli.org/. Accessed July 19, 2018.

Disclosures: Infectious Disease News was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.