Sharing data during Zika and other global health emergencies

We're joining over 30 global health bodies in calling for all research data gathered during the Zika virus outbreak, and future public health emergencies, to be made available as rapidly and openly as possible. 

It follows a consensus statement arising from a WHO consultation in September 2015, in which leading international stakeholders affirmed that timely and transparent pre-publication sharing of data and results during public health emergencies must become the global norm. The statement is published in full below. 

Statement on data sharing in public health emergencies 

The arguments for sharing data, and the consequences of not doing so, have been thrown into stark relief by the Ebola and Zika outbreaks.

In the context of a public health emergency of international concern, there is an imperative on all parties to make any information available that might have value in combatting the crisis.

We are committed to working in partnership to ensure that the global response to public health emergencies is informed by the best available research evidence and data, as such:

  • Journal signatories will make all content concerning the Zika virus free to access. Any data or preprint deposited for unrestricted dissemination ahead of submission of any paper will not pre-empt its publication in these journals.
  • Funder signatories will require researchers undertaking work relevant to public health emergencies to set in place mechanisms to share quality-assured interim and final data as rapidly and widely as possible, including with public health and research communities and the World Health Organization.

We urge other organisations to make the same commitments.

This commitment is in line with the consensus statement agreed at a WHO expert consultation on data sharing last year whereby researchers are expected to share data at the earliest opportunity, once they are adequately controlled for release and subject to any safeguards required to protect research participants and patients.

See the full list of signatories to the statement in Notes for editors.