Methods This conceptual article describes the origins, purpose and scientific foundations of the DataSHaPER (DataSchema and Harmonization Platform for Epidemiological Research; http://www.datashaper.org), which has been created by a multidisciplinary consortium of experts that was pulled together and coordinated by three international organizations: P(3)G (Public Population Project in Genomics), PHOEBE (Promoting Harmonization of Epidemiological Biobanks in Europe) and CPT (Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project). Results The DataSHaPER provides a flexible, structured approach to the harmonization and pooling of information between studies. Its two primary components, the 'DataSchema' and 'Harmonization Platforms', together support the preparation of effective data-collection protocols and provide a central reference to facilitate harmonization. The DataSHaPER supports both 'prospective' and 'retrospective' harmonization. Conclusion It is hoped that this article will encourage readers to investigate the project further: the more the research groups and studies are actively involved, the more effective the DataSHaPER programme will ultimately be
Quality, quantity and harmony: the DataSHaPER approach to integrating data across bioclinical studies
Fortier, I., Burton, PR., Robson, PJ., Ferretti, V., Little, J., L'Heureux, F., Deschenes, M., Knoppers, BM., Doiron, D., Keers, JC., Linksted, P., Harris, JR., Lachance, G., Boileau, C., Pedersen, NL., Hamilton, C., Hveem, K., Borugian, MJ., Gallagher, RP., ... Hudson, TJ. (2010). Quality, quantity and harmony: the DataSHaPER approach to integrating data across bioclinical studies. International Journal of Epidemiology, 39(5), 1383-1393.