The UK Biobank Access Procedures states that applicant PIs should do their best to publish their findings in an academic journal or on an open source publication. Approval from UK Biobank is not required but the applicant PI must provide copies of all such reports at least two weeks before their expected presentation or publication date and is required to advise UK Biobank in advance if any report is likely to provoke controversy or otherwise attract significant public or press attention.
- Most findings are published in review journals and are subject to the presentation restrictions and embargoes of these journals. Occasionally, pre-publication posters or presentations are made and findings are released publicly (usually to other scientists and the media) at this stage.
- Increasingly, scientists discuss their work in online forums, blogs and so forth. This information disseminates quickly and within a few hours can be re-hashed to appear anywhere. Scientists should take care not to make successful publication less likely because of online activity (or to breach their own embargoes). Web monitoring systems like Google Alert identify very modest mentions – and can quickly make them news.
- UK Biobank requires two weeks notice of the first substantive publication of results. This should be taken to mean the first time the research results are likely to receive a public airing in whatever format – e.g. publication, conference presentation, on-line blog.
- Some results (unexpected/ controversial) may require a degree of preparation or explanation, and should be drawn to UK Biobank’s attention as early as possible in the publication process (but certainly within 2 weeks of publication).
- UK Biobank does not require notification of subsequent presentations or promotions of the same work, though new analyses on the same data should once again be drawn to UK Biobank’s attention at least 2 weeks before publication. UK Biobank would appreciate knowledge of subsequent repeat promotions of controversial findings and is happy to work with researchers and their institute press offices to ensure the best approach to publicity.
- UK Biobank is a public resource and as such is keen to promote use of the resource by highlighting findings on its websites and elsewhere – so that participants and other scientists can find out how it is being used. All approved applications to use the resource are published on the UK Biobank website. This means that scientists could at any time thereafter be approached by journalists or members of the public about their work.
- UK Biobank is happy to work with scientists and the press offices of their research institutes to highlight work. Contact should first be made with the UK Biobank Access Team who can discuss any publication issues with you, or give the contact details of other UK Biobank staff who can help. UK Biobank Access Team: 0161 475 3951 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Scientists may also wish to discuss with the media what they plan to do with UK Biobank data, or what they are in the process of doing. Once again, UK Biobank would appreciate some warning if this is likely to be controversial or generate significant attention. Researchers are encouraged to discuss their work with their own PR teams before engaging with the media.
- Researchers should acknowledge UK Biobank in the following way: This research has been conducted using the UK Biobank Resource.