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Public wants Covid-19 data to be more openly available

Survey results also suggest Covid-19 pandemic has made people more likely to listen to scientists

People in the UK want data on coronavirus to be openly available and are more likely to listen to expert advice from scientists and researchers, an opinion poll has suggested.

According to the survey—which was conducted by Survation on behalf of the Open Knowledge Foundation—97 per cent of people believe it is important that Covid-19 data are openly available for people to check. Moreover, 67 per cent believe that all Covid-19-related research and data should be made open for anyone to use freely.

The survey comes as the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies—known as Sage—has faced growing complaints over secrecy.

Over the past month, numerous politicians and researchers have criticised the government for slow publication of documents relating to the advisory group, and for refusing to reveal all the names of the group’s participants.

But the survey did also find that a majority of respondents, 59 per cent, trust the government to make the right decisions based on confidential evidence and data.

And trust in scientists seems to be up as a result of Covid-19 pandemic. Over half of respondents —64 per cent—said they were now more likely to listen to expert advice from qualified scientists and researchers.