Beyond the Digital Divide: Sharing Research Data across Developing and Developed Countries

Professor Brian Rappert, Dr Sabina Leonelli, Dr Ann Kelly and Dr Louise Bezuidenhout have been awarded £123,000 from The Leverhulme Trust to examine the ethical, legal and social issues of sharing research data across developed and developing countries.  

The project seeks to understand current data sharing practices (formal and informal) amongst communities of scientists in developing countries and identify how practices differ in working with non-clinical human data (such as cell culture), non-human data (such as parasitology and chemistry) and in silico data.  Periods of intensive observational research will enable researchers to compare and contrast data sharing practices with sub-Saharan African laboratories, in order to highlight areas of similarity and dissimilarity and critically assess the institutional, national and international regulatory environments in which these issues arise.  The objective of the project will be to develop these observations with regards to the protocols of collaborative research (North-South as well as South-South), funding and governance of research, and the development of a more reflective global discussion on data sharing with the overall aim of contributing towards a better understanding of how, why, and to what end scientists in developing countries share data, and whether these data sharing practices differ from the priorities, practices, and policies associated with research in developed countries.