Fostering global data sharing: highlighting the recommendations of the Research Data Alliance COVID-19 working group

Published in Wellcome Open Research, 2020

Recommended citation: Austin CC, Bernier A, Bezuidenhout L et al. Fostering global data sharing: highlighting the recommendations of the Research Data Alliance COVID-19 working group [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]. Wellcome Open Res 2020, 5:267 (https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16378.1) https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16378.1

Abstract

The systemic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic require cross-disciplinary collaboration in a global and timely fashion. Such collaboration needs open research practices and the sharing of research outputs, such as data and code, thereby facilitating research and research reproducibility and timely collaboration beyond borders. The Research Data Alliance COVID-19 Working Group recently published a set of recommendations and guidelines on data sharing and related best practices for COVID-19 research. These guidelines include recommendations for researchers, policymakers, funders, publishers and infrastructure providers from the perspective of different domains (Clinical Medicine, Omics, Epidemiology, Social Sciences, Community Participation, Indigenous Peoples, Research Software, Legal and Ethical Considerations). Several overarching themes have emerged from this document such as the need to balance the creation of data adherent to FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable), with the need for quick data release; the use of trustworthy research data repositories; the use of well-annotated data with meaningful metadata; and practices of documenting methods and software. The resulting document marks an unprecedented cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral, and cross-jurisdictional effort authored by over 160 experts from around the globe. This letter summarises key points of the Recommendations and Guidelines, highlights the relevant findings, shines a spotlight on the process, and suggests how these developments can be leveraged by the wider scientific community.