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Quick, Accessible Sharing of Zika Research Pledged

Some 33 journals and research funding agencies are committing themselves to making Zika virus research publicly and quickly available.

Journals like Nature, Science, and the New England Journal of Medicine have pledged that they will make Zika-related papers freely available and that any preprint or pre-publication dissemination of data won't prevent its publication. At the same time, funding agencies like US National Institute of Health, the Wellcome Trust, and Médecins Sans Frontières will require researchers in the field to share their data quickly and widely with the public health and research communities as well as with the World Health Organization.

This pledge, ScienceInsider notes, is based on a consensus statement regarding work on public health emergencies drafted by the WHO last fall. That statement said that researchers have a "fundamental moral obligation to share preliminary results once they are adequately quality controlled for release."

"It's critical that as results become available they are shared rapidly in a way that is equitable, ethical, and transparent," Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, says in a statement. "This will ensure that the knowledge gained is turned quickly into health interventions that can have an impact on the epidemic."

ScienceInsider adds, though, that this commitment to sharing doesn't extend to physical samples. For research in to the Zika outbreak, it notes, that's so far been a major issue.