Sharing individual participant data: through a systematic reviewer lens

Larysa H M Rydzewska, Lesley A Stewart, Jayne F Tierney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


An increasing prevalence of data-sharing models, aimed at making individual participant data (IPD) from clinical trials widely available, should facilitate the conduct of systematic reviews and meta-analyses based on IPD. We have assessed these different data-sharing approaches, from the perspective of experienced IPD reviewers, to examine their utility for conducting systematic reviews based on IPD, and to highlight any challenges. We present an overview of the range of different models, including the traditional, single question approach, topic-based repositories, and the newer generic data platforms, and show that there are benefits and drawbacks to each. In particular, not all of the new models allow researchers to fully realise the well-documented advantages of using IPD for meta-analysis, and we offer potential solutions that can help improve both data quantity and utility. However, to achieve the "nirvana" of an ideal clinical data sharing environment, both for IPD meta-analysis and other secondary research purposes, we propose that data providers, data requestors, funders, and platforms need to adopt a more joined-up and standardised approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. The Author(s).


  • Data Analysis
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Research Personnel
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic

Cite this