Exploring Open Data: Data for Research vs. Data for Public Health

Open data haOpen-Datas the potential to revolutionise microbial genomics. But in practice, many of the benefits of this technology remain untapped. So how can we achieve greater data sharing? Over the coming weeks, we’ll be featuring some highlights from a panel discussion on open data at the Annual Conference 2016.

This week, Professor Julian Parkhill from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute talks about how data collected for public health and data collected for academic research should be treated and shared differently.

“Much of the discussion around data sharing until now has been around the relationship between sharing and academic publication, particularly which data should be shared pre- and post-publication, and many agreements have been put in place to govern this.

“I would argue that these discussions are not relevant for data collected specifically for public health, which should be shared immediately and broadly. There will be grey areas, but it should be possible to differentiate between data collected for academic study, and that collected for public health. If absolutely necessary, to allow maximum public health benefit, these could even be shared within closed networks, though this would harm research use of the data.”

Professor Julian Parkhill

This panel was hosted by the PHG FoundationYou can read more about their approach to open data and their model for data sharing here.

Professor Julian Parkhill is on the Editorial Board for Microbial Genomics, a new open access and open data journal published by the Microbiology Society. Find out more about the journal here.

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