best practices

10 Simple Rules for Sharing Human Genomic Data

The Repositive team together with Springer Nature has recently formulated “10 simple rules for sharing human genomic data”. “These 10 Simple Rules have been developed from our combined experiences of working with human genomic data, data repositories and data users. We do not claim that these rules will eliminate every possible risk of data misuse. Rather, we hope that these will help researchers to increase the reusability of their human genomic data, whilst also ensuring that the privacy of their subjects is maintained according to their consent frameworks. Many of the principles presented are also applicable to other types of clinical research data, where participant privacy is a concern.” The manuscript by Manuel Corpas, Charlotte Whicher, Nadezda V. Kovalevskaya, Tom Byers, Amanda A. McMurray, and Fiona G.G. Nielsen of Repositive Ltd, Future Business Centre, Cambridge, UK, and Varsha K. Khodiyar of Springer Nature, London, UK, was originally submitted to Introduction Delivery of the promise of precision medicine relies heavily on human genomic data sharing. Sharing genome data generated through publicly funded projects maximises return on investment from taxpayer funds and increases the likelihood of obtaining funding in future rounds [1]. More importantly, genome data sharing makes it possible for […]

Accessing health and health-related data: report from the Council of Canadian Academies

Canada is investing a lot of effort and resources into its healthcare system. To ensure that it provides the best possible care, high quality research data must be regularly fed into the system. Much of the data relevant to health research arise from interactions within the health system — every encounter with a physician, a pharmacist, a laboratory technician, or hospital staff generates data. The amount of data has grown significanly in the last several years. Due to the advances in information technolody, there are multpile ways to manage health and health-related data. Understanding the best ways to access, store, and govern these data is an important issue for Canada and Canadians. In 2013, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) asked the Council of Canadian Academies to answer the following question: What is the current state of knowledge surrounding timely access to health and social data for health research and health system innovation in Canada? The Panel of Canadian experts examined the technological and methodological challenges of accessing data; the benefits and risks of such access; legal and ethical considerations; and best practices for governance mechanisms that enable access. This report provides a foundation of knowledge that will support […]


The Sharers’ Leaderboard: an h-index for data sharing

The idea for this guest post by Kate Hodesdon of Seven Bridges Genomics grew out of a discussion with Adam Resnick (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) and Deniz Kural (Seven Bridges Genomics). There is widespread recognition that sharing data benefits science. In this article, I’ll examine the best practices of data sharing, and assess the prospects for codifying these into a metric for how well scientists share data. When scientists say that sharing data is good for science, they have certain models of sharing and certain kinds of data in mind. I want to look at what makes someone a good sharer of data. For instance, simply being a prolific sharer is useless if the quality or relevance of the data is poor. And sharing high-quality data is not helpful if it you store it in an insecure repository, or an obscure format. Clarifying best practices of data sharing will help us maximize the value of shared data, but it can also play another important role of helping to incentivize data sharing. The problem of incentivization is that while data sharing undoubtedly benefits scientific progress, it is only beneficial to individuals if they can take advantage of another’s shared data. In […]

ecology concept

Ecological Perspective on Data Sharing

We have invited Charlie Outhwaite (@charlielouo) to write a guest blog post on the topic of openness and data sharing from an ecological point of view. The post give us the great opportunity to draw a parallel on how the same type of data sharing problems we are experiencing in the field of genomics are observed across different scientific disciplines. The field of ecology is a vast and varied one. As a result, the types and quantities of data produced differ hugely.  Whether a study is small in scale, such as a field or lab based project, or a large, country or global scale, big data study: the amount of data that could be made available is enormous.  Yet the field of ecology has been considered as behind in terms of its openness when compared to other areas of biology such as genomics. With such vast amounts and types of data available, sharing that data openly has the potential to boost research opportunities and open up collaboration within and between fields. As is the case within many scientific disciplines, a major barrier for data sharing in ecology is the fear of being scooped. For this reason, many researchers would be unlikely […]

data and bio-specimens

Sharing Bio-specimens and Data

Nowadays, the increasing value of data and bio-specimen collections does not correspond with an equal increase in data/sample-sharing and data/sample access. As we all know sharing data and bio-specimens is essential for the discovery, the knowledge creation and translation of various biomedical research findings into improved diagnostics, biomarkers, treatment development, patient care, health service planning and general population health. There is a constantly increasing international agreement on the urgency to provide access to research datasets, to advance their use and fully apply their long term value. All of this has been clearly noted in many documents such as the OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding, the Toronto Statement, and more recently the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health’s White Paper. Even though sharing of data and samples is confirmed to be favourable for most health-related research, it is of highest importance for rare-disease research because of the high deficiency of research participants, samples, data, resources and researchers for any given RD. Thinking in the most perfect way, data and bio-specimens should be made broadly available, but often failed because of institutions and individuals fearing, they will not receive recognition for their investment in building […]