Beyond Our Borders? Public Resistance to Global Genomic Data Sharing

Mary A. Majumder, Robert Cook-Deegan, Amy L. McGuire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Prospects have never seemed better for a truly global approach to science to improve human health, with leaders of national initiatives laying out their vision of a worldwide network of related projects. An extensive literature addresses obstacles to global genomic data sharing, yet a series of public polls suggests that the scientific community may be overlooking a significant barrier: potential public resistance to data sharing across national borders. In several large United States surveys, university researchers in other countries were deemed the least acceptable group of data users, and a just-completed US survey found a marked increase in privacy and security concerns related to data access by non-US researchers. Furthermore, diminished support for sharing beyond national borders is not unique to the US, although the limited data from outside the US suggest variation across countries as well as demographic groups. Possible sources of resistance include apprehension about privacy and security protections. Strategies for building public support include making the affirmative case for global data sharing, addressing privacy, security, and other legitimate concerns, and investigating public concerns in greater depth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2000206
JournalPLoS biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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