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I am delighted to be able to inform Michael and others that COPE
decided, at its last Council meeting (on March 1st), to produce a
discussion paper on the issue of data sharing and data repositories. We
feel there are too many uncertainties and unanswered issues (such as
patient confidentiality) to allow us to formulate a policy or issue
guidance just yet. We also need to consult our members (who are not only
biomedical journals) to ensure we have considered all the issues and don't
recommend something that is unacceptable or impractical for certain
disciplines. We also plan to review existing guidelines, such as those
published recently by Hrynaszkiewicz et al (1). However, we do agree that
this is an important issue and we hope that our discussion paper (which,
incidentally, is a new departure for COPE) will help inform this debate.
We aim to have the paper ready by the end of the year.
I am the Chair COPE, this is a voluntary position