Prior to the birth of the GISAID Initiative, many scientists hesitated to share influenza data through traditional public-domain data archives, in part due to their legitimate concern about being scooped, a term frequently used when peers using data, are able to publish scholarly articles more quickly than they themselves are able to. In some cases, their scientific contributions would also fail to be properly acknowledged, or recognized.
Additionally, some governments were concerned, about the loss of ownership over any intellectual property rights potentially residing in such data, and – particularly for low- and middle-income countries – will wish to ensure that they can secure access to new vaccines or medicines developed on the basis of that cooperation.
The GISAID Initiative took into account these concerns and provides since 2008 the open access EpiFlu™ database, which is governed by an enforceable sharing mechanism, to offer the public an alternative, to traditional public-domain archives such as GenBank, where access to data takes place anonymously and submitters’ rights are not protected.
See: Pearson H. Competition in biology: It's a scoop! Nature 2003; DOI: 10.1038/news031124-9