The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that clinical and epidemiologic data should be made openly available, as close to real-time as possible, during public health emergencies.

In Geneva yesterday, representatives from Government, public health agencies, scientists, research funders, ethicists and industry met to discuss data sharing in light of the recent Ebola crisis. Participants agreed that countries should share data by default, to ensure the knowledge can be used for the global public good. Journal publishers strongly agreed that data sharing in a crisis should not be held up by publication timelines, and that sharing these data would not impact the possibility of publication in their journals.

Participants at the meeting also called for all researchers to make data publically available, including results from studies that are inconclusive or unfavourable. The full WHO statement is available here, with a full meeting report coming soon.