NPR: Scientists Report In Real Time On Challenging Zika Research

LabKey collaborators at the O’Connor Lab (University of Wisconsin-Madison) were recently featured on NPR, sharing details about their current work researching the Zika virus and decision to share research data with the public in real-time.

In the article, Dave O’Connor expressed that even with journals committing to make data free to access without pre-empting future publication, the process may still take longer than what is ideal under emergency conditions.

“In the case of a public health emergency like Zika virus, the journals are aware that there is certain urgency to communicating the results,” says O’Connor, “but that process can still take weeks to months.”

He didn’t want to wait. Doing the experiment publicly means that other experts can contact him and suggest changes or offer help. Plus the early results could maybe help other groups better plan their own Zika studies, so they could get results faster and use fewer animals.

They team sees their open-data sharing as an experiment in and of itself.

“You’re seeing a shift, as you are in many other aspects of culture, where information can be shared much more broadly and much more quickly than it ever could before,” says Thomas Friedrich, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin, Madison who is collaborating with O’Connor on the Zika experiments in monkeys. “Part of what we’re testing here is the viability of real-time public data sharing.”

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The O’Connor Lab is making their data available real-time through the Zika Open-Research portal, a LabKey hosted instance of LabKey Server.

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