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How to promote data sharing

A short video discussing about trust in data sharing
So we managed to get people to share data based on trust. Obviously, this is an important thing and that the systems that we built would ensure that we could handle that data securely and properly. So one, that the computational system that we had in the UK CLIMB-COVID required security assessment. We had to go through various steps to ensure that data was handled securely. We had to work with individual partners to discuss their issues and worries about data sharing, and we had to build a consensus to allow us to share the data.

How to ask for cooperation for global data sharing? Here Dr Ewan Harrison talks about the COG-UK approach.

Ewan talked about a couple of different advantages the UK had but the underlying concepts are generalisable when trying to promote data sharing:

  • Be trustworthy. Whether you are looking to engage new research collaborators, seek data from different communities or aggregate data from many different sources you have to demonstrate that you are a safe and trustworthy custodian of that data. Secure storage and transmission of data, robust data management plans, ethical approvals and transparency will all help to achieve this aim.
  • Listen. Many of the reasons why individuals, communities or organisations are reluctant to share data are grounded in previous issues. Listen to what your colleagues are concerned about. Do they fear a lack of credit for their contributions, are they concerned their own community won’t benefit from the research or do they worry about the perception of sharing data with external institutions? Understanding their concerns is likely to be a constructive step towards beginning to address them and eventually agree to share.
  • Work collaboratively Agree on roles and responsibilities together. Who will hold the data? Who is going to write the outputs? How will contributions be recognised? Early agreement on a number of key steps will prevent miscommunication and future disagreements.

How have you managed to share data? What initiatives are there in your country to promote data-sharing? Have you heard about CLIMB before? Visit the CLIMB-COVID website for more information about it. This scientific article: CLIMB-COVID: continuous integration supporting decentralised sequencing for SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance might be of interest too.

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From Swab to Server: Testing, Sequencing, and Sharing During a Pandemic

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