Informational Webinars - Q&A


The following are questions/comments posed during our kickoff/informational meeting for the RDA COVID-19 Working Groups, along with responses. We will update this listing as more Q&As are compiled.









Where can I find the webinar presentations?


Where should the resources be logged?

Recordings and presentations from each webinar will be placed in the Events section for each one following the meeting.


Can people volunteer for several (sub)groups? And, are all of the subgroups open to all RDA members?

Yes and yes!


If one of our COVID-19 research groups would like to join in one work group, what steps must they take?

Go to the WG summary page of interest and select the button to “Join Group”:


Congratulations on the very efficient webinar. How many were present?

At the first webinar, there were 160 unique viewers that were able to join live, and a maximum of 133 concurrent viewers.



Are you familiar with similiar work being conducted on open data, such as:

Thanks, yes, we are aware of Wellcome’s work and are in touch with them to make sure we align.


Within the social sciences and humanities (SSHOC infrastructure project of the EU) there is discussion about setting up a portal for the SSH.

Thanks, and yes, we are aware of the developments within SSHOC.


Is there communication with the WHO re: which formatting and what metadata that would need to be streamlined? Including sorting by discipline and cross-platform (data repositories) searchability?

A member of the co-chair team will reach out for their guidance/recommendations.


In the “clinical” space / IT standards / interoperability: Is there a link to EU CEF / eHealth DSI / cross border sharing of “medication” and “patient summary”?

Not yet, but it will be part of a resource that will be linked.


What is the priority... given the deadlines - policy-makers or practitioners? It seems everyone is trying to wear both hats. Should we "abandon" policy recommendations because OECD has already prepared a document?

The OECD provides general recommendations, whereas the RDA work is on how to make it actionable. A policy brief should be developed, with collaboration on the meta-recommendations.


Is the resource catalogue being populated from existing lists at all?  Or is it an entirely new ‘registry’?

We are currently agreeing upon structure, but need to discuss with moderators. Within groups, it will be helpful to know of existing resources.



Can we clarify the licensing of the guidelines right away? I suggest CC0 for all of text and media.

We want the licensing as open as possible; we have two licenses within RDA that can be applied - CCby and CC0.


Would the group want to submit an editorial to promote the openness of data? Nature’s Scientific Data is a potential venue.

Once the guidelines are ready to share, this would be ideal.


The aim is to be technology neutral, but can we note best practices? E.g., using NGS or Nanopore technologies in Omics, using Docker to encapsulate the environment software is run in, and so on?

We should include all different assets and resources available. However, this does not stop us from listing or pointing to resources that could be of value in this context.


Some interesting points have been raised about software resources. Is that considered in-scope for this activity? Is anyone in this WG from Would be good to have an activity with them.

This is topic is very important, and should come up in individual groups. The new RDA group being set-up with ReSA 7 FORCE11 can be involved, and the RDA is currently signing agreement with the Research Software Alliance.


Apart from formulating guidelines, do we have any mandate or resources to set-up associated infrastructure (e.g., some mechanisms to test compliance of some resources with some or all of the guidelines)?

The RDA WG itself does not have this mandate but there are parallel initiatives - see data sharing platforms such as EOSC and ELIXIR. Also, there are activities within Europe on BPMRI (bio molecular resources) that can be referenced in our work but it is an infrastructure itself.



Do you have guideline examples to show what the final products look like?

Although we have starter templates for the outputs, this is an iterative process, and will emerge over the coming weeks. 


What if a group is not able to reach consensus on a deliverable?

We will work iteratively. For early versions, if there is disagreement we may present both sides of the argument and then try to resolve in later versions.


Could we set up Zotero to catalogue ressources, shared publicly? Easier and more versatile than Google sheets.

Given the fast track response, we started with easy to access and use resources, but we would welcome support and suggestions.


Since Zotero use has been adopted by some of the sub-groups, can you explain how the  public Zotero set functions?

We are not yet ready to make the RDA COVID Zotero library set public, as it is still in working draft state. We plan to wait and ensure the library is well-curated and organized, and will continue to be at the point of making it pubic. Sub-group members or moderators will be able to add to the library.


What’s the process for developing the overarching recommendations (also given that many ideas for that may be embedded within the sub-groups’ reports)?

High-level recommendations from the sub-groups will be used to create general and overarching recommendations, and a writing team will likely iterate and determine how best to handle it through that work.


How can we best engage researchers from Asia, Africa and Latin America? Are there collaborations and guidelines in place/in preparation with Amelica/SciELO, etc.?

This is one of benefits of having 400 members in this WG, and we have different roles involved in our advocacy body (e.g., data stewards, etc.) This is where the members can help, in providing good ways to disseminate the guidelines.


When will recommendations for both researchers and policy holders be available?

Recommendations for both target audiences (and more) will be addressed in the document, including use of a decision tree.



What are the options for handling cross-cutting themes? Does that work initially start through the sub-groups?

We have developed options for addressing technical and ethical domains, as they cut across all sub-group areas. The strategy is to review work by the sub-groups and develop general recommendations across them, but area-specific issues can be handled within the sub-group recommendations.


We have overlapping aspects between the subgroups, e.g. data management plans, document identifiers, data use agreements, standardised metadata. How do we align these aspects between the sub-groups?

Highlighting overarching issues will be important, and can be addressed in the overarching section. Alternatively, like the larger cross-cutting issues, we could develop its own subgroup like ethical/legal and research software, depending on need as we iterate through the development sprints.


What kind of resources are you looking for in the -omics area?

Resources related to genetic sequences, data standards, the types of useful repositories and why, and the tools that are most useful for COVID -omics data, including transcriptomics data. Also should address RT-PCR and Serology data as well, apart from virus and host genomes.


Is the -omics group also looking to cover which are the susceptible variants for COVID-19?

Yes, there should be cross-cutting work on genetic biomarkers across epi, clinical, and -omics subgroups.


Where does imaging data fit into these WGs? Lung CT scans are becoming available and important in both acute and longer-term care and treatments.

Imaging data can be addressed in the clinical subgroup, and also within epidemiological.


What about biomarkers?

Many types of biomarkers will fall within -omics (molecular biomarkers), and clinical (for diagnostic and follow-up purposes). Moderators will ensure these are addressed appropriately across groups and make sure nothing is overlooked.


Lots of autopsy data are being collected as well - e.g., images, tissues, blood samples. Where does this fit? Some of it is being used to guide health professionals in caring for patients.

There are a number of cross-cutting themes, and autopsy data / biospecimens can apply within several sub-groups, but especially within Clinical.


How can we capture other types of data - e.g. around aerosols, etc. - that may come from different disciplines/industries than the subgroup areas included so far?

We may be able to address these at a later stage; we had to limit the number of groups initially because of the timeline.


We are creating a WG to establish RDA-guidelines for Health Research Performing Organizations to create FAIR (Open) data policies. Since we are officially creating the group, I would like to invite you to join us, and naturally attach the outcome of this group to RDA-COVID19 RECs/Guidelines... The sesion of the VP15 will be tomorrow and you are welcome!... The data about COVID19 could not be different than other Health Research Data, so aligning is crucial to not duplicate work or make "A LAW" for the CoronaVirus that cannot be extrapolated for ALL Health Research Data.

Quite a few groups are working in parallel spaces and we should try to synch and collaborate across them!


What about the psychology/isolation factors and future depression-demics? Does that fit into social sciences, or a mix, or for later?

Those factors could fit into social sciences and/or clinical subgroups, but we would value your (and other members') guidance on this topic.


Is there an intention to tap into "secondary use" of clinical data similar to the many registers that we see?

We will definitely want to address secondary use of clinical data in the Clinical subgroup. 


Is there a relation of this work to the work done in the FAIR space of RDA?

Various groups are dealing with FAIR in RDA, as resources need to be FAIR and open. FAIR principles will be represented here, and one of the co-chairs is involved in FAIR within EOSC as well.


Looking at Ethical issues relating to COVID-19, will you address governmental regulations?

Yes, looking at a hierarchy of various regulations is important and will be addressed.