Applying Intelligent Open Science to Combat Future Pandemics

Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, open science, open data, research, data sharing, FAIR data


The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the potential strengths and existing weaknesses of open science practices and open data sharing to addressing urgent social and technological challenges. It was a time when pathogen genomic data was shared worldwide to characterise virus outbreaks, track the mutation and spread of the virus, and develop public health responses. However, this brought a renewed focus to the practice, incentives and infrastructures that crucially enable data sharing and reuse.

In 2022, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commissioned Research Consulting to investigate the opportunities and challenges associated with open data sharing during the pandemic. This work follows a commitment made during the UK’S G7 Presidency, as published in the G7 Research Compact, and its findings are closely aligned to those outlined in the World Health Organization’s recently published guiding principles for pathogen genome data sharing.

Our talk draws on evidence base of 295 sources, the views of 24 interviewees, and insights from 18 international peer reviewers to present five key lessons that can be learnt to enable preparedness for future pandemics.

Author Biographies

Lucia Loffreda, Research Consulting

Lucia Loffreda is a Consultant at Research Consulting. She works on a variety of projects across the scholarly communication, open science, and international development landscapes. Lucia works with universities, sector associations, public bodies and publishers across the research landscape, both in the UK and internationally.

Eleanor Cox, Research Consulting

Eleanor Cox is a Senior Associate Consultant at Research Consulting. She supports projects in the fields of open science and scholarly communication.

Rob Johnson, Research Consulting

Rob Johnson founded Research Consulting in 2013 and leads work in research policy, research management and scholarly communication. Rob has led more than 100 projects for clients across government, academia and the private and not-for-profit sectors.