Data sharing in public health emergencies

Sharing data helps researchers to build on existing knowledge and make discoveries that can improve health. 

This includes the need to share data to anticipate and prepare for health emergencies, and to develop vaccines and experimental treatments. 

Our position

Research is an essential part of being ready for and responding to public health emergencies. It’s critical that any new knowledge is shared in a timely manner in a way that’s equitable, ethical and transparent. 

What we’re doing

Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) network

We’re a member of the GloPID-R network and lead its data sharing working group.

The working group is developing a strategy for data and knowledge sharing in public health emergencies. It will identify: 

  • defining principles and norms
  • the skills, capacity and tools needed to develop systems for data sharing
  • incentives that could encourage data sharing
  • ethical, legal and governance issues.

Calling for change

We’re calling on funding bodies, journals and research organisations to share research findings and data relevant to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read the statement.

In February 2016, we joined a growing list of global health bodies to call 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. Read the statement.

Our article for the World Health Organization looks at the progress that’s been made since the 2016 statement, and at the key challenges posed by data sharing in public health emergencies. 

More information