Unlike distributed data entry, which is used in many large epidemiologic studies and multicenter clinical trials, distributed data analysis is a relatively new concept. This paper reports on the usefulness of such a system in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. CARDIA distributes the entire examination dataset to participating centers soon after completion of each round of data collection. The process was designed to encourage more numerous, diverse, and rapid publications, and to allow for more efficient use of the manpower and expertise in centers. Responsibilities of the coordinating center have changed from a conventional coordinating center but remain substantial due to the need for collating, monitoring, verifying, and documenting the distributed data analysis (DDA) system. DDA is successful from the standpoint of implementation and operation-21 manuscripts representing work analyzed at six participating centers had been submitted for publication within 3.5 years of the completion of the baseline examination. © 1992.