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NEJM complexities article screen capturenejm-data-challenge-flyer-captureThis is big. Please share it with anyone you know who’s a believer in open data.

You may have heard that back in January the New England Journal of Medicine created a firestorm by saying “parasites” about people who want to see a researcher’s original data. Many (including Vice President Biden, at Health Datapalooza (video)) have objected strongly, saying that data from one project might be useful to other researchers, which could accelerate cures (as in his son Beau’s brain cancer death) and improve payback from public research funding (aka government grants).

In what I think is an amazing development, NEJM has responded by saying “Game on: we will release the entire dataset from a well known study (“SPRINT”) – let’s see if anyone else can find new value.”

You’re invited. Crunching this amount of data isn’t for the faint-hearted, but anyone can play.

The results will be presented at a conference next April, which will be live streamed.  I’ve been asked to be one of the live audience participants, so I got this email, which they’re allowing me to post publicly, to invite participation. Click the images above to download each two-page PDF.

Dear Colleague,

nejm-sprint-challenge-pageWe look forward to having you join us at the Aligning Incentives for Sharing Clinical Trial Data summit on April 3-4, 2017 in Boston, MA. While further logistical details and information will be forthcoming, in the interim, we are pleased to let you know that the SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge is now open.

To explore how the responsible sharing of clinical trial data might be used to identify additional advances in human health, NEJM is challenging individuals and groups to analyze the dataset underlying the SPRINT article published in NEJM — A Randomized Trial of Intensive versus Standard Blood-Pressure Control — and uncover a novel scientific or clinical finding. Participants with the best entries will be eligible to win a prize and present at the upcoming Aligning Incentives for Sharing Clinical Trial Data summit.

We appreciate your assistance in sharing the attached information about the SPRINT Challenge with your colleagues, post-docs, fellows, and students who have an interest in participating. There are no entry fees to submit to the SPRINT Challenge. Detailed information is available at the SPRINT Challenge website at and questions or comments are welcome at

Your assistance in spreading the word is greatly appreciated.


Jeffrey M. Drazen, MD
Co-Chair, SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge
Editor-in-Chief, The New England Journal of Medicine
Distinguished Parker B. Francis Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD
Co-Chair, SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge
Marion V. Nelson Professor, Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School


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