Zika, Ebola emphasize need for open, public health data sharing

An article by FierceHealth
August 17, 2016

Old-school sharing of public health data, via methods such as through peer-reviewed journals, doesn’t work in emergency situations--and recent public health crises including the Zika virus and Ebola emphasize the need for routine public health information exchange, researchers say.

In an essay published in PLOS Medicine, researchers from the Defense Health Agency, the U.S. Army Institute of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, call for support of initiatives to address data sharing obstacles and say the scientific community must support “open science practices in both emergency and nonemergency research.”

The authors note that to best ensure proper data sharing is in place in the event of an outbreak like Ebola or the Zika virus, the practice should be expanded to all public health research.

This should tie in with the effort to move to a place where science data and information is more open to all, they add. Which is not to say that such practices aren't already underway in the sciences: The authors point to how, because of the Zika outbreak, scientific journals have made Zika-related content free to access.

 

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