85 Publishers and funders pledge to share data on coronavirus rapidly and openly

85 Publishers and funders pledge to share data on coronavirus rapidly and openly

The number of people contracting the new strain of coronavirus, currently referred to as 2019-nCoV, is increasing each day. The outbreak has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), and researchers around the globe are working to understand the virus and develop treatment methods.

On January 31, 2020, the U.K. based non-profit research charity Wellcome Trust appealed researchers and funders to share research data and findings pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak promptly and openly “to inform the public health response and help save lives.”  

In response, 85 publishers, scientific societies, and funders have signed a joint statement committing to make public the latest findings and data on coronavirus immediately. Some of the important specifications of the statement are mentioned below:

  • For the duration of the outbreak, all peer-reviewed publications regarding the outbreak will be made available freely.
  • Research findings will be made available on preprint servers or via other platforms where papers can be shared before peer review alongside information regarding underlying data.
  • All research findings will be shared with the WHO immediately.
  • Authors will share interim and final research data widely and rapidly along with protocols and standards used to gather data with the WHO and public health and research communities.

Several publishers and journals such as Elsevier, SpringerNature, eLife, The Lancet, and The Royal Society have pledged their support to making data and findings relevant to the outbreak public with immediacy. The scientific community has responded to this move positively. Alessandro Vespignani, who leads the Modeling of Biological and Socio-Technical Systems Lab in the U.S., said: “In previous outbreaks you could wait weeks or months to see a paper come out that had that one piece of information you needed in your work. […] This time is different.”

Announcing its support to the Wellcome Trust’s initiative, Nature stated that: “For researchers, the message is simple: work hard to understand and combat this infectious disease; make that work of the highest standard; and make results quickly available to the world.”

On the flip side, there is concern over the problems that the data availability can create, particularly in the case of preprints that have not been peer reviewed. Science journalist Adam Rogers says, “Scientists aren’t the only ones who can download a preprint. That opens up the work to possible misunderstanding or misinterpretation.”

Editage has committed to joining hands with researchers worldwide and enabling the spread of timely, accurate information related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. To that end, Editage is offering free translation, editing, and artwork formatting services for studies related to 2019-nCoV.

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