Although it has not yet been designated a public health emergency of international concern, the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo represents a serious and rapidly developing threat to public health.
As such, Wellcome believes that it is imperative that research findings and data relevant to the current outbreak are shared rapidly and openly – in line with the 2016 joint statement relating to the sharing of data on Zika and future public health emergencies.
We expect the principles of this statement to apply to similar outbreaks in the future where there is a significant public health benefit to ensuring data is shared widely and rapidly.
We therefore call on the signatories of that statement, and on other funding bodies, journals and research organisations, to adopt the approach set out in this statement, namely that:
- journals make all content relevant to the outbreak free to access, and ensure any data or pre-print shared ahead of submission of a research article will not pre-empt its publication in these journals
- funders require researchers undertaking work relevant to the outbreak 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 strongly encourage our funded researchers to use Wellcome Open Research or other open research publishing platforms as a mechanism to rapidly and openly publish research findings, protocols and other outputs, or to use pre-prints to share research findings ahead of journal submission.
We will continue to work through the Glopid-R Data Sharing Working Group to understand and implement best policies and practice around data sharing in public health emergencies.
Signatories to the statement
- Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- DG Research & Innovation, European Commission
- EcoHealth Alliance
- Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz)
- The Global Health Network
- Infectious Disease Data Observatory
- Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm)
- The Institut Pasteur
- Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences
- International Journal of Infectious Disease
- International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infection Consortium
- International Society for Infectious Diseases
- Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)
- The Lancet Group
- Microbide Limited
- National Academy of Medicine
- Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research
- The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW) – read their news story(opens in a new tab)
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)
- South African Medical Research Council