Open Humans Network connects patients, researchers to share data

A project backed by the Knight Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation enables patients to voluntarily share their health data directly with researchers.

The project, called the Open Humans Network, was developed by researchers from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., New York University and the University of California San Diego. In essence, it allows patients to volunteer their data for clinical research. Using an online system, the network connects people who want to share their health data with researchers who would benefit from more information, according to a blog post from the Open Humans Network.

Backed with a combined $1 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the project is hosted by, a nonprofit foundation based at Harvard University. The aim is to make data more available for researchers, who have frequently faced difficulty in recruiting study participants, according to the blog post.

"Think of it as open-sourcing your body," project director Jason Bobe, who also leads, said in the blog post. "There is tremendous potential for accelerating medical discoveries by helping individuals take their health and personal data out of data silos and making the data more broadly used."

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