COVID-19: Share, discover and reuse COVID-19 related data and code

This page is based on Imperial College’s resource


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In a joint statement published by the Wellcome Trust, more than a hundred publishers, funding agencies and research organisations committed to work together to help researchers share interim and final research data, standards and protocols as rapidly and ‘openly’ as possible. To inform the public health response.

This page offers guidance to researchers so that they can share their Covid-19 related research data appropriately and responsibly without compromising research integrity and data quality.

COVID-19 research data

Data sharing should be carried out responsibly and in accordance with ethical and legal obligations.

Healthcare authorities and agencies have taken steps to make it easier for researchers to proceed with COVID-19 related research projects while still meeting ethical requirements. 

Visit the NHS-HRA web pages COVID-19: Guidance for sponsors, sites and researchers and the MHRA web pages  Managing clinical trials during Coronavirus (COVID-19). for more details and check with other funders and sponsors as appropriate.

Researchers requiring assistance with University research ethics applications should contact the Research ethics and research integrity team

Data Protection

Wherever possible data should be anonymised, removing both direct and indirect identifiers. Data that has been pseudonymised, data with ID where there is a key, or where there is other obtainable data that could lead to re-identification, still counts as personal data under the Data Protection Act and should be managed appropriately.

It is best practice to obtain consent to share anonymised data.

You can share sensitive or pseudonymised data as long as you have consent and there is no conflict ethically or contractually with third parties.  In such cases, you need to consider the criteria for sharing and use a data-sharing agreement. The University of Liverpool has a template data sharing agreement that you can use or adapt. To request a copy of the template email the Liverpool Research Data team.

If you need to discuss your research and data protection in more detail, please contact the Data Protection officer.

Deposit and share

The best and easiest way to share your data is to deposit with a trusted data repository. This will ensure the long-term archiving and accessibility of your data. Your dataset (s) will be assigned a persistent identifier such as a DOI. This makes it easier for you and others to cite the data and track its impact.

Use a domain or subject specific repository. There are a number of repositories that accept datasets relating to COVID-19 such European Nucleotide Archive (ENA), EMBL_EBI, Gen Bank, and GISAID. You can also find links to other repositories on the ‘submit data’ page of the European COVID-19 data portal.

If none of these is appropriate, you should use a general purpose repository such as Zenodo or Fighsare that host dedicated community sites or the University of Liverpool Research Data Catalogue, making sure you indicate that your research data relates COVID-19  

Zenodo is useful as it has integration with GitHub enabling archiving of key versions of software.

Controlled Sharing

Some repositories will not accept metadata records without depositing a corresponding dataset. If your data can only be shared under certain prescribed circumstances and/or you require a data sharing agreement to be completed, then you can always use the Liverpool Research Data Catalogue. Please contact the team to discuss further.

Tell Us

If you are not using the Liverpool Research Data Catalogue, please let the Liverpool research data team know where you are depositing your data (a link or DOI will do). We will then create a metadata record in the Research Data Catalogue, linking to the where the data is and any publications.

Document and Link to Publications

Do not forget to provide your datasets with explanatory documentation such as a read me file, data dictionary or similar documentation

One of the most important things you should do is LINK your datasets to your publications (including preprints). Include a data access statement in any published papers or preprints (many publishers now ask for this). Likewise, you should put links to related publications in your dataset records. Further information on data statements can be found on our webpage

Sharing Software

Finding Data

Many researchers, research groups and organisations are making their research data open (Always check the terms and conditions governing access and reuse by data providers).

Data accessed for research purposes should be properly cited and referenced just like any other research output

The following are examples of repositories and websites and platforms that may provide you with relevant data.

 Real time access to COVID-19 data, some with data visualisation:


Open Data Watch’s web site Data in the time of COVID-19 may also be useful.