This article was published on april 29th on BioéthiqueOnline and written by Valéry Ridde, Matthew Hunt, Christian Dagenais, Isabelle Agier, Aude Nikiema, François Chiocchio, Emmanuel Bonnet and Paul-André Somé. It discusses the specific policy needs for research for the sharing of data from an intervention research program in global health.
This article can be downloaded below (pdf).
Interventional global health research is often carried out through international scientific partnerships. However, the conduct of such research, especially in low-income countries where issues of power, money and intercultural relations are exacerbated, raises many ethical challenges particularly related to responsible conduct in collaborative research. One of these challenges is the storage, access, use and publication of data. Despite the existence of multiple influential policies and documents on ethics and the responsible conduct of research, researchers in intervention research are still not equipped to deal with such challenges. In the context of an intervention research program conducted in Burkina Faso, the authors would like to share their experience in the development of an internal policy concerning their data. After presenting the global and the particular context, the paper presents the process of policy formulation and its adoption by the researchers of an interdisciplinary and international team (Burkina Faso, Canada, France, Germany). The values that entrench this internal policy are: transparency, prevention, consensus about the production process, respect for international principles, free access to the knowledge produced and concerns regarding its dissemination and use. The policy is presented in several parts: aim, types and status of the participating researchers, data storage, access and use of data, scientific production and authorship. The main challenges faced by researchers in formulating this policy are analyzed in a shared desire to spark a debate that is rarely addressed. Trust, transparency and mutual respect should be central to any scientific partnership in intervention research.