The Research Data Alliance (RDA) has today published its 'COVID-19 Recommendations and Guidelines'. The guidelines focus on sharing data in the contexts of clinical medicine, omics practices, epidemiology, and social sciences, as well as discussing community participation, indigenous populations, research software, and legal and ethical considerations. The guidelines aim to drive rapid responses and informed decision-making during public health emergencies.
Dr Juan Bicarregui, Head of the STFC Scientific Computing Department's Data Division, co-chaired the RDA emergency response working group that coordinated this. “The challenges of rapid collection, analysis and sharing of data are immense," he said. “The right balance has to be found between rapid dissemination, which is crucial in a time-critical situation such as the current pandemic, and maintaining checks that ensure data is fully understood and conclusions justified. We have collected and organised information to enable the people who need the data to access it quickly and easily during the current crisis, and at the same time created a process which may help with any future emergencies."
The RDA provides a forum for individuals and organisations to collaborate through self-organised working groups, while it oversees and structures the collaboration process. The RDA-COVID-19 working group was set up in March and quickly developed into a structured team of seven subgroups, where over 400 organisations and individuals contributed to the work. An iterative, weekly cycle of meetings and interim releases led to the final, endorsed draft published today on the RDA website.
“It's been a privilege to work with an international team of researchers and data experts who have offered their energy and knowledge to help address the current crisis. It's been inspiring to see the collaborative spirit demonstrated by the team, showing what can be achieved through voluntary participation and a common goal."