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Published August 6, 2020 | Version 1.0
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Community Guiding Principles for the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C)



N3C Community Guiding Principles

This Community Guiding Principles document outlines expectations of every N3C community member, which includes, institutions and individuals who use N3C resources, expertise, and data. The N3C community is committed to providing a welcoming and inspiring environment for all community members. These principles were established by the N3C Community in an unprecedented effort to encourage and enable a highly collaborative research environment to address one of the worst health crises of our time. As such, we expect these guiding principles to be honored by each community member.  

N3C is built on principles of Partnership, Inclusivity, Transparency, Reciprocity, Accountability, and Security:

  • Partnership: N3C community members are trusted partners committed to honoring the N3C community guiding principles and Code of Conduct
  • Inclusivity: N3C is open to any organization that wishes to contribute data, as well as anyone who registers to use N3C data to conduct COVID-19 related research, including citizen/community scientists
  • Transparency: Open processes and reproducible research is the hallmark of N3C and good scientific practice.  Access to data is project-based and focused on COVID-19 research questions.. Descriptions of projects are posted publicly and are searchable to promote collaborations.
  • Reciprocity: Contributions are acknowledged and results from analyses, including provenance and attribution, are expected to be shared with the N3C community.
  • Accountability: N3C community members take responsibility for their activities and hold each other accountable for achieving the N3C objectives and acting through good scientific practices.
  • Security:  All activities are conducted in a secure, controlled access cloud-based environment, and are recorded for auditing and attribution purposes.

The N3C community is an open and positive collaborative environment, where researchers bring diverse skill sets and experiences. N3C Community members are expected to honor these guiding principles, follow community the N3C expectations, and treat each other with respect. Harassment will not be tolerated.  N3C supports the NIH statement on anti-harassment:


Ethics Statement

The N3C community members are expected to follow all laws, regulations, and their organization’s policies related to the responsible conduct of research. Further, members will respect and protect patient privacy and other interests by minimizing risks of harm and maximizing potential benefits to individuals or groups through inclusivity and equity in research design and outcome dissemination. It is expected that community members consider the effects their research could have on vulnerable populations, communities, and society and not use N3C resources for research that is discriminatory or stigmatizing of individuals or communities.

In keeping with the Guiding Principles stated above, the N3C community will uphold the highest standards of publication ethics and best practices, by appropriately attributing and citing works and contributions (Partnership, Inclusivity, Reciprocity), and developing and disseminating original works that uphold scientific integrity, promote the rapid advancement of scientific findings, and bolster public trust in research (Transparency, Accountability, and Security).

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

We encourage the widest possible community of investigators and organizations to participate in N3C, and we are committed to building a community for all. Although this list cannot be exhaustive, the N3C community honors diversity in race, ethnicity, culture, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical size, language, national origin, immigration status, political beliefs, profession, religion, socioeconomic status, family status, educational level,  and mental, technical, or physical ability.

Resolving Issues through Community Arbitration

The hope is that issues do not arise. In the event they do, the N3C Community seeks to help address them where possible.  An N3C Community “Response Team” of 2-3 individuals nominated by the community, will serve as community arbiters to aid resolution of concerns and to escalate to NIH if relevant.  If a community member experiences any concern, then they may raise it to a Response Team contact.  As part of the N3C Community, members are expected to respect and consider in good faith recommendations offered by the Response Team and to contribute to finding and implementing workable solutions.  Of note, all concerns reported will be handled with discretion and will receive serious attention. It is expected that any differences of opinion will be resolved through good faith, constructive dialogue among all involved individuals.


N3C-Community Guiding Principles 2020-08-06.pdf

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