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Input sought on draft guidelines for Covid-19 data sharing

Research should balance adhering to FAIR data standards and immediacy, group suggests

The Research Data Alliance, a grassroots organisation that promotes data sharing, is seeking feedback on draft guidelines for sharing data related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Public health emergencies clearly demonstrate the challenges associated with rapid collection, sharing and dissemination of data and research findings to inform response[s],” said the RDA working group that developed the guidelines, published on 24 April.

“Some foundational challenges that apply across all themes include the rapid pace of research under the pandemic, the critical need for data sharing, and the lack of coordinated standards and context.”

The draft guidelines suggest finding a “balance” between immediate publication and adherence to FAIR principles of data distribution – that data be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. Researchers should include openly accessible metadata, document their methodologies and put their work in trusted repositories, the guidelines suggest.

“In the spirit of the RDA community and its open process, we are seeking feedback from the Covid-19 working group members, as well as the broader community, early and often during this process,” the group said, adding that comments would be incorporated into future discussions.