Strength in Numbers: The WWARN Case Study of Purpose-Driven Data Sharing

Georgina S. Humphreys, Halidou Tinto and Karen I. Barnes


Data are the basis for all scientific output. The sharing of data supporting that output is an important aspect of scientific communication, and is increasingly required by funders and publishers. Yet, academic advancement seldom recognizes or rewards data sharing. This article argues that although mandating data sharing will increase the amount of data available, this will not necessarily enable or encourage the secondary analyses needed to achieve its purported public good. We, therefore, need to build models that maximize the efficiency of processes for data collation and curation, and genuinely reward those engaged in data sharing and reuse. The WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network has 10 years of experience as a data platform, and its study group approach provides an example of how some of the challenges in equitable and impactful data-sharing and secondary use can be addressed, with a focus on the priorities of researchers in resource-limited settings.