01 Apr 2020

RDA COVID19 Case Statement

March 30, 2020


The objectives of this Working Group are twofold:

  1. to clearly define detailed guidelines on data sharing under the present COVID-19 circumstances to help stakeholders follow best practices to maximize the efficiency of their work
  2. to develop guidelines for policymakers to maximise timely data sharing and appropriate responses in such health emergencies.

The group will address the development of such detailed guidelines on the deposit of different data sources in any common data hub or platform. The guidelines aim at developing a system for data sharing in public health emergencies that supports scientific research and policy making, including an overarching framework, common tools and processes, and principles which can be embedded in research practice. The guidelines to be developed will address general aspects related to the principles the data should adhere to (FAIR and other principles), as well as specificities related to five areas (below).



The COVID-19 WG will create a draft set of deliverables in a 3- week timeline (by April 24), with ongoing efforts to continue to add and review material:

1.    A set of Guideline documents, highlighting the primary data sharing resources in five areas, each with different data types and cross-cutting themes (e.g. ethics, legal, etc.). Other areas will be added, if required, as the effort proceeds.
a.    Omics
b.    Clinical
c.    Epidemiology
d.    Social Sciences
e.    Community Participation

2.    A set of Resource lists in each of these areas.
3.    A Decision Tree tool to facilitate navigation to specific Resources.

Value Proposition

The COVID-19 WG outputs are intended for the full range of stakeholders working on solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, including: researchers; research administrators; public health practitioners, funders; data managers; policy makers. The set of tools will provide access to specific data sharing resources based on the focus of the individual.
Engagement with Existing Work in the Area 
Given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a number of other groups working on facilitating access to resources in this area. The WG will list these other efforts, and where appropriate integrate their efforts into this output. Some specific efforts include:

1.    OECD use of Open Government Data (OGD) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak
a.    Sheet
2.    Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN)
3.    CODATA ‘Making Data Work for Cross-Domain Grand Challenges’ or launch in 2021

Work Plan

Given the tight timeline for the WG, a process has been defined that will facilitate a quick turnaround, while ensuring the quality of the work.

1.    The outputs of the WG will work together to form a single access tool, from General Guidelines→Area Guidelines→Resource Submission Forms→Resource Lists→Decision Tree/Search for Accessing Resources.

2.    The WG members (over 300 as of March 30) will be divided into Area Teams that will add and perform peer review of recommended Resources. Each Area Team which may include a number of sub-groups, will work concurrently to produce the appropriate outputs: 

a.    Writing Group: will draft the Guidelines for that Area

b.    Resource Group: will add appropriate resources, and provide peer-review

3.    The work of the Areas will be coordinated by Area leaders:

a.    Area Teams

i.    Moderator(s): overall coordination of the Teams

ii.    Co-chair observer: A representative from the co-chairs team to ensure appropriate resources are available.

iii.    Support person: To provide support for calls, scheduling, input forms, updating task lists, etc.

b.    Co-chairs

i.    Co-chairs plus additional support resources.

4.    The various roles within each team will provide the input and quality control needed to ensure the WG outputs are of a high quality. The outputs will receive further vetting once drafted by the broader RDA and stakeholder communities.

5.    Each of the Area Teams will have weekly calls via Zoom, and there will be 2-3 Zoom Webinar meetings with the full WG membership to review progress and get feedback. The Co-chairs+ Team will meet weekly on Monday, the Co-chairs+ & Moderators Team weekly on Tuesday, The Co-chairs+ & Editorial Team weekly on Wednesday, and the Area Teams weekly on Thursday. The full WG member webinar meetings will be scheduled at appropriate times. The progress of the groups will be tracked by a WG Project Manager using an appropriate tool.

Adoption Plan

Given the critical nature of the global research effort being marshalled to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the 300+ members of the WG will be asked to indicate adoption/use of the outputs, and to promote through their networks as much as possible. RDA’s organizational partners will also be asked to do the same. 

This Working Group operates according to the RDA guiding principles of Openness,  Consensus,  Balance,  Harmonization,  Community-driven,  Non-profit and technology-neutral and is OPEN TO ALL

The RDA is collaborating with CODATA, GO FAIR, and WDS under their Data Together statement.

Initial Membership

The Co-chairs of the Working Group and sub-groups are:

  • Juan Bicarregui
  • Anne Cambon-Thomsen
  • Ingrid Dillo
  • Sarah Jones
  • Mark Leggott
  • Priyanka Pillai

The Members of the WG are listed on the WG Members page (320 as of March 30), and a smaller subset indicating where their efforts would best be used are listed in a separate Expertise sheet. The roles for specific Members will also be listed on the WGs Wiki page.


Review period start: 
Wednesday, 1 April, 2020 to Friday, 1 May, 2020
Documents : 
PDF icon RDA COVID-19 Case Statement.pdf179.55 KB
  • Mark Leggott's picture

    Author: Mark Leggott

    Date: 01 Apr, 2020

    This is the initial Case Statemenrt for the COVID-19 WG, and is what we will use to create the initial set of outputs due in April. We do realize that some of you will have suggestions for improvements to the Statement, so please add your comments here, and this will help us evolve the effort over the longer term.



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