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Sarah Jones

Hi Kheeran
I agree with your point about types of recommendations and where possible increasing the type 2 ones. It’s difficult to be concrete and didactic (i.e. in circumstance X do Y) but I think that’s what we’re hoping to get towards in the decision trees.
It really is incredible what all groups are achieving in such a short space of time with all the added pressures
All best
– Show quoted text -From: ***@***.*** on behalf of kheerand via RDA COVID19 Coordination
Sent: 28 April 2020 17:04
To: ***@***.***
Subject: [rdacovid19-coordination] My thoughts on 1st release of the recommendations
Hi all,
Below are my thoughts and reflections after reading through and reflecting on the 1st release in its entirety. I’m putting this up relatively unfiltered, and where I am being critical, it is intended as constructive. I apologies in advance for the stream of conscious style of this, I figure its best to get it out for discussion sooner rather than try to tidy it up and take more time. Also, as I am not an expert in many of the areas, I am bound to be wrong on many fronts, in which case either ignore my naive comments, or feel free to highlight that they are wrong.
* While we’ve attempted to keep it short for each of the subgroups, the overall document in its 1st release is 28 pages. That is a lot to read for those who are raising against time. We need to find ways to make it shorter, punchier and actionable. My suggestion is find ways for each recommendation to be provided in such a way that someone can directly action what is being recommended. We got more to say and more to write, but we don’t want it to become shelfware. We want this to be in front of everybody in an easily actionable way.
* The editorial team has done a wonderful job within a very short time to make a coherent 1st release of the document. The document still has things expressed in many peoples voices, which makes it harder to read and comprehend. In our subsequent iterations we should look to make this more consistent. One suggestion is to have a consistent structure throughout the document and have the same (or very similar) structure for each of the sub-WG sections.
* When I reflect on all the recommendations I felt they fell into two types.
* Type 1: A call to arms for things that should be in place but are not (harmonised policies, consensus on standards, need for rapid tool development…).
I think it was Winston Churchill who was credited with saying ‘don’t let any crisis go to waste’, and in this spirit I agree with having the type 1 recommendations included. However, I feel that they are less valuable than the Type 2 recommendations as they are less directly actionable.
* Type 2: Concrete, actionable recommendations and guidelines (We suggest use of XYZ repository for sequence data, Use file format fastq for sequences, document methodologies used to collect…). These provide direct, immediately actionable recommendations/guidance to the reader on what to do.
I think both are necessary, and speak to 2 different audiences and have 2 different time frames for action. I wonder if it makes sense to split these in to 2 different sets of recommendation documents to make it more targeted to the audience for each type of recommendations.
* In many sections we talk about the use of Trustworthy repositories. I think we waste precious time of those out there doing stuff if we leave it to them to search and find what the Trustworthy repositories are. I think we should put forward a list of trustworthy repositories as recommended by this WG (or better still by RDA). If we base it on recommendations from the FAIR WG and the Certification of Digital Repositories IG, then we can back it up. Or maybe we can do it as a Red/Amber/Green ranking of known repositories to provide guidance to the reader?
* Sec 4: Clinical sub-group guidelines
* When I read the guidelines here they mostly fall in to Type 1 recommendations.
* Sec 5: Community participation
* Not much meat in this section, and foreshadows more specific guidance in future iterations. (I’m a moderator in this sWG so I have to take ownership of this!)
* Sec 6: Epidemiology
* Again, many of these recommendations seem to be of Type 1. It calls for lots of international harmonsing, development of consensus standards, harmonised approaches etc. But it is not clear WHO should be doing these or who should be leading the charge to make these happen. Without something like that I fear these are simply wish-lists rather than something that results in action. We should consider including who we think is best to action the guidelines in here.
* Sec 7: Omics
* I think this has the most actionable (type 2) guidelines and recommendations in the document.
* Sec 8: Social Science
* 8.2.1: I agree with the need for DMP, but I’m not sure if it is always practical for everyone to do all the time. We want to lower the barriers for people doing this work, not increase it. So I wonder if it would be useful to provide a basic DMP template with relevant COVID-19 related metadata already populated that someone could simply pickup and use if they don’t have one handy already?
* requests researchers to register their DMP. We should provide guidance on our recommendations on where they could register it at.
* asks researchers to be mindful of commonly accepted codes and norms. Could we list these professional codes and norms out or point them to where they could find them?
* Sec 9: Research software
* Along with Omics, I think this has the most actionable (type 2) recommendations.
* 9.2.5: We should specify the licenses that we recommend.
* I think we should consider recommending a list of controlled vocabularies for COVID-19. We should point to existing domain specific vocabs were they exist, and consider developing ones for where there isn’t any and having them available. I think that would go a long way to the F and R in FAIR. Vocab services like that provided by ANDS could be used for this to enable easy use.
* I think in future iterations we should consider some form of table/matrix form to make the document quick and easy to read and get the information you want out of it.
* In regards to metadata, I think we should also have an explicit set of recommended and minimum metadata information that should be included in anything COVID-19 related.
Again, sorry for the verbose and unfiltered thoughts. I don’t mean to offend or diminish the amazing work we have done in such short time, under so much personal and professional pressures.
Kind regards