Press release: Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak

1 February, 2020

This press release is signed by a growing list of publishers, large and small, as well as funding agencies, WHO Bulletin, The BMJ, The Lancet, bilateral agencies, NGOs, pharmaceutical companies, research councils... Please also read my comment below.

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The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China (2019-nCoV) represents a significant and urgent threat to global health.

We call on researchers, journals and funders to ensure that research findings and data relevant to this outbreak are shared rapidly and openly to inform the public health response and help save lives.

We affirm the commitment to the principles set out in the 2016 Statement on data sharing in public health emergencies, and will seek to ensure that the World Health Organization (WHO) has rapid access to emerging findings that could aid the global response.

Specifically, we commit to work together to help ensure:

- all peer-reviewed research publications relevant to the outbreak are made immediately open access, or freely available at least for the duration of the outbreak

- research findings relevant to the outbreak are shared immediately with the WHO upon journal submission, by the journal and with author knowledge

- research findings are made available via preprint servers before journal publication, or via platforms that make papers openly accessible before peer review, with clear statements regarding the availability of underlying data

- researchers share interim and final research data relating to the outbreak, together with protocols and standards used to collect the data, as rapidly and widely as possible - including with public health and research communities and the WHO

- authors are clear that data or preprints shared ahead of submission will not pre-empt its publication in these journals

We intend to apply the principles of this statement to similar outbreaks in the future where there is a significant public health benefit to ensuring data is shared widely and rapidly.

We urge others to make the same commitments. If your organisation is committed to supporting these principles, please contact us (d.carr@wellcome.ac.uk) and we will add your organisation to the list of signatories

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Comment (Neil PW): This solidarity on making information available about coronavirus is welcome. It implies that it is unethical to withhold such information. I support this 100%. But it raises a broader question: why is it unethical to withhold information on coronavirus, while continuing to withhold information on all other causes of death and human suffering? For me, this press release confirms the ethical imperative of healthcare information for all and our collective responsibility to achieve it.

Specifically, I invite HIFA members to commit to work together progressively to help ensure:

- all peer-reviewed research publications relevant to *human health* are made immediately open access

- research findings relevant to *human health* are shared immediately with the WHO upon journal submission, by the journal and with author knowledge

- research findings are made available via preprint servers before journal publication, or via platforms that make papers openly accessible before peer review, with clear statements regarding the availability of underlying data

- researchers share interim and final research data relating to *human health*, together with protocols and standards used to collect the data, as rapidly and widely as possible - including with public health and research communities and the WHO

- authors are clear that data or preprints shared ahead of submission will not pre-empt its publication in these journals.

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org