rda-covid19-epidemiology rds general - Work organization - Issues / Shortcomings

21 Apr 2020

Dear Claire, dear all,
it is great to see all the enthusiasm aroud the cooperation on improving
COVID-19 related research.
A lot of wonderful work and expertise is organized within RDA.
Participating in the Epi group I would like to point to some challenges
I currently perceive.
_Beforehand, as I do not take part in all discussions, sorry if some of
this has been mentioned elsewhere or if I did overlook something!_
My concerns are mainly related to some lack of guidance on the documents
and overviews to be created.
* Zotero: The list contains many valuable links and I was able to
identify important ressources. Thanks! Yet:
o Content is often entered in an unstructured way, somtimes
detailed, sometimes superfically. This undermines the FAIRness
of our entries.
o For example, the search functionality works well if appropriate
key terms are used. Example: "COVID19 data" is repeatedly used
as the main description. This not really a lot of information
depth. Appropriate search terms would allow for better content
search not only within but across WGs.
o -> Couldn't we better agree on standardized ways of anotating
content and curate it accordingly? [Side-remark: We encourage
the world to adhere more to standards, what about ourselves.]
* Documents: Sometimes I see a very generic approach to documents
o Example: "Good practices for Research Software" -> Is such a
document our goal as many have thought and published about this
topic. This scope is not specific to any single group here or
COVID-19. Would we succeed in creating something better in a few
days? I am not certain!
o Woudln't it rather be the task to think about specific
requirements in the COVID-19 pandemia for some specific aspect
of research software.
o Some documents have a very  broad scope as the one example above
or "Standard Harmonised Electronic Epidemic data collection"
-Should one document really target a broad scope of goals?
o -> If we want to move fast I think very specific short documents
on clearly defined specific issues of immediate COVID-19
relevance within the particular work areas might be better to
handle, given existing time constraints. They might be put
together later.
o If it is a non-specific topic, it might not be a good idea to
handle it wthin a single  WG to avoid double activities.
This is just my humble take, I hope I do not offend anyone with my remarks.
Carsten Oliver Schmidt
Prof. Dr. rer. med. habil. Dr. phil.
Universitätsmedizin Greifswald
Institut für Community Medicine
SHIP-KEF - Division Quality in the Health Scienes
Walther Rathenau Str. 48
17475 Greifswald
Tel.: 03834 867713
Fax: 03834 866684
Email: ***@***.***-greifswald.de