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There is common consensus that data sharing accelerates science. Data sharing enhances the utility of data and promotes the creation and competition of scientific ideas. Within the Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) community, data types and modalities are spread across many organizations, geographies, and governance structures. The ADRD community is not alone in facing these challenges, however, the problem is even more difficult because of the need to share complex biomarker data from centers around the world. Heavy-handed data sharing mandates have, to date, been met with limited success and often outright resistance. Interest in making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) has often resulted in centralized platforms. However, when data governance and sovereignty structures do not allow the movement of data, other methods, such as federation, must be pursued. Implementation of fully federated data approaches are not without their challenges. The user experience may become more complicated, and federated analysis of unstructured data types remains challenging. Advancement in federated data sharing should be accompanied by improvement in federated learning methodologies so that federated data sharing becomes functionally equivalent to direct access to record level data. In this article, we discuss federated data sharing approaches implemented by three data platforms in the ADRD field: Dementia's Platform UK (DPUK) in 2014, the Global Alzheimer's Association Interactive Network (GAAIN) in 2012, and the Alzheimer's Disease Data Initiative (ADDI) in 2020. We conclude by addressing open questions that the research community needs to solve together.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Neuroinform

Publication Date





Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegeneration, data sharing, dementia–Alzheimer’s disease, federated data access, remote data