Assessing the Impact of Wellcome’s COVID-19 Data Sharing Statement

Date

2022

Client

Wellcome Trust

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Understanding how the Wellcome Trust’s Coronavirus statement shaped the sharing of open data and results among the scientific community.

Wellcome | Research Consulting

In January 2020, Wellcome released a statement urging the scientific community to openly share research and research data relating to the Coronavirus pandemic. A total of 160 organisations signed the statement including research funders, publishers, and policymakers.

Research Consulting and Science-Metrix, an Elsevier company, were commissioned by Wellcome, UK Research & Innovation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, to explore the impact of the statement on open sharing behaviours during the pandemic. The work sets out recommendations for organisations who may wish to develop similar statements as a policy tool.

Work on this project included an extensive literature review, interviews with policymakers and experts, an online survey, and a bibliometric analysis. The findings were synthesized using thematic analysis and used to inform a public report and executive summary.

Our findings indicated that open and rapid sharing had a positive impact on the global pandemic response. For example, 94% of COVID-19 articles with signatory funding support were available to read freely during the pandemic, and that 22% of COVID-19 articles with signatory funding support had a policy citation.

We were also asked to provide some recommendations for organisations who may want to create their own statement in the future. Such advice includes to provide a strong expectation around the sharing of preprints and data, establish a framework for tracking the success of the statement, communicate the commitments clearly to the signatories and to consider what long-term impact the specific statement might make.

The project’s findings and supporting data are available via Zenodo, and their launch was supported by a social media campaign.