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E.3 Publication Policy

E.3 Publication Policy

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In their individual papers, Consortium participants will not be restricted to describing the methods developed for the project but can and should expand into describing biological insights that arise from their analyses. To facilitate comparison of data among different groups participating in the ICGC, all publications by Consortium members should include explicit data on quality metrics, possibly including a common reference set of analytes agreed upon by the Consortium, e.g., nucleic acids derived from a common cell line or other source; such papers should also explicitly include a statement that the quality metrics are those that have been adopted by the ICGC (to promote their wide acceptance across the broad research community).

POLICY: ICGC ARGO member programs will have privileged access to data from other members of the Consortium based on their level of Membership. Data access is tiered and aimed not to disadvantage Members or Associate Member Data producers, with a framework that encourages data sharing, yet provides data generators with sufficient time to perform analyses:

  • Up to 12 months from completion of standardised analyses: Access to Programme submitting data only
  • 12 months: Access to Members
  • 18 months: Access to Associate Members
  • 24 months: Accessible by external parties

Member programs and projects are entitled, at their discretion to waive the data access periods if they so wish. The details of this would be made available through the ICGC ARGO website.

Following the 24 month member privilege period investigators outside of the ICGC are free to use data generated by ICGC ARGO members, either en masse or specific subsets, but are asked to follow the guidelines developed at the Ft. Lauderdale meeting[1], and specific guidelines developed by the ICGC, as per below.

POLICY:  Users of Consortium data, whether members of the Consortium or not, should be aware of the publication status of the data they use and treat them accordingly. For example, all investigators, including other Consortium members, should obtain the consent of the data producers before using unpublished data in their individual publications, and the data producers should not unreasonably withhold this consent.

Specifically, data users should cite the source of the data and should acknowledge the clinical contributors and the data producers from the ICGC. In addition, the data users are asked to recognize the interests of the data producers to publish reports on the generation and analysis of their data, as described previously. Datasets from ICGC members are released to public databases as pre-publication data and remain unpublished until they appear in peer-reviewed publications. Outside investigators who perform an in-depth analysis of data from ICGC members and are interested in publishing a report before the data producers do so should discuss their results with the data producer(s) and are encouraged to establish collaborations. However, ICGC members are not required to collaborate with any outside investigators. All investigators, through their roles as journal and grant reviewers, should enforce a high standard of respect for the scientific contribution of the data producers.

This description of the ICGC data release policy is directed primarily at issues concerning the use of Consortium data in scientific publications. The intent of the policy is to accelerate the use of the data by the global scientific community while, at the same time, allowing the data producers to get appropriate scientific credit for their work through publications. To facilitate this goal, the data producers agree not to restrict the use of the data by others, while the data users are encouraged to act in a manner that is consistent with this policy providing unrestricted access to pre-publication data.

This list will be periodically revised by the ICGC to reflect the continually evolving fields of genomics, bioinformatics, and to comply with ethics and privacy policies and regulations.

Data users should freely analyze pre-publication data and act responsibly in publishing analyses of those data in a manner that respects the terms described by the data producers. Data users are responsible for accurately citing the source of pre-publication data, including the version of the dataset. Data users are encouraged to contact the data producers to discuss publication plans in cases of uncertainty.

Scientific journal editors and reviewers should be aware that there may be restrictions on data users regarding ICGC datasets. It may be necessary to request that authors provide evidence that communication occurred with data producers, if there is a possibility that the manuscript infringes on the terms set by the data producers.


  1. https://www.genome.gov/Pages/Research/WellcomeReport0303.pdf.
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