This fascinating conference paper that appeared in PNAS as an open access paper explores the tension between open data and data sovereignty. These are two competing and worthy imperatives that need to be resolved. Researchers must carefully explain data sharing to First People potential participants and seek their consent for the sharing of data. Your institutional guidance material should discuss this matter.
The field of genomics has benefited greatly from its “openness” approach to data sharing. However, with the increasing volume of sequence information being created and stored and the growing number of international genomics efforts, the equity of openness is under question. The United Nations Convention of Biodiversity aims to develop and adopt a standard policy on access and benefit-sharing for sequence information across signatory parties. This standardization will have profound implications on genomics research, requiring a new definition of open data sharing. The redefinition of openness is not unwarranted, as its limitations have unintentionally introduced barriers of engagement to some, including Indigenous Peoples. This commentary provides an insight into the key challenges of openness faced by the researchers who aspire to protect and conserve global biodiversity, including Indigenous flora and fauna, and presents immediate, practical solutions that, if implemented, will equip the genomics community with both the diversity and inclusivity required to respectfully protect global biodiversity.
Mc Cartney, A.M., Anderson, A.J. Liggins, A.L., Hudson, A.M.L., Anderson, A.M.Z., TeAika, A.B., Geary, A.J., Cook-Deegan, A.R., Patel, A.H.R., Phillippy, A.M., (2022) Balancing openness with Indigenous data sovereignty: An opportunity to leave no one behind in the journey to sequence all of life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. PNAS. 119(4) doi:10.1073/pnas.2115860119
Publisher (Open Access): https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.2115860119