Objectives Many industry-based cohort studies have been undertaken in industries around the world. Considerable time and effort goes into identifying the determinants of exposure in the industry and developing Job Exposure Matrices (JEMs) to assign exposure. On the other hand, assessment of exposure in retrospective community-based studies often depends on experts who may not be familiar with all jobs in the study. A solution is to recycle the industry-based JEMs into job specific modules (JSMs) which contain questions on the determinants of exposure and embedded rules for exposure assessment.
Methods OccIDEAS is a web-based application which automates the expert assessment method of assessing occupational exposures. As an example of how a JEM can be recycled we used a JEM from a German study on testicular cancer in the automobile industry to create a JSM in OccIDEAS.
Results The JEM clearly identified the main determinants of exposure in the automobile industry, which were job title and work area. These determinants were easily transformed into questions. The exposure rules followed logically.
Conclusions JEMs which are based on determinants of exposure in cohort studies can be easily transformed into a JSM. Such international collaboration, which can benefit all of the community, is possible now by using knowledge-sharing technologies and we encourage other researchers to share their knowledge to benefit other researchers.