shared only rarely, but that the dataset from which the final results were obtained be available to other researchers who may verify and extend the results through an audit or broader reanalysis.

Putting Preliminary Findings into Appropriate Context

Any preliminary findings that are released under the conditions specified above need to be communicated in an appropriate context. The type and degree of risk suggested by the preliminary findings will influence the public’s reactions. To help the public to determine what, if any, actions to take, an indication of the public health importance of the findings should accompany their release. The public health importance of the risk and the behavior change resulting from it will be modulated by the statistical and scientific context used to communicate the risk. To portray accurately the risk conveyed by any preliminary findings from VSD data, communication about preliminary findings needs to include an assessment of the quality and integrity of the data used as the basis of the findings and possibly should include sensitivity analyses.

Recommendation 4.10: The committee recommends that any preliminary findings based on VSD data that are shared with the public be put into appropriate statistical and scientific context with clear characterization of the uncertainties in the findings, of the strengths and limitations of the data, and of the possibility that new data or new analyses could change interpretations.

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