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Need to Share

Nature writes that to be able to produce the first human genome, researchers had to share their data, but now when genomic data is deposited into databases — and some researchers are resistant to doing so due to privacy or proprietary concerns — the databases have varying degrees of accessibility and interoperability.

Nature adds, though, that there are efforts underway to promote data sharing. For instance, it notes that the US National Institutes of Health is requiring beginning January 2023 that researchers include a Data Management and Sharing Plan in their grant proposals, and that the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute and the US National Human Genome Research Institute are working together to develop a centralized and standardized means of sharing GWAS summary statistics data. Another effort, Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, or GA4GH, meanwhile seeks to establish standards for genomic databases, it adds.

The University of California, Santa Cruz's David Haussler tells Nature that scientists could encourage one another to share. "Data should be a living thing," he adds. "I want to click on it and play with it immediately. That should be the motivation. If you don't share your data, you can't do that."