Epidemiology common standard for surveillance data reporting WG - RDA Plenary 16 session

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04 Aug 2020
Meeting objectives: 

A new Epidemiology Working Group (to be renamed to "Epidemiology common standard for surveillance data reporting WG") was launched in August, 2020. Initial membership, comprising a core group from the RDA-COVID19-Epidemiology subWG, was expanded to include more domain specific expertise and members from diverse backgrounds. We aim to have global participation from an interdisciplinary group of experts to address a common data challenge across the public health domain. All of the Epidemiology WG development and deliverables will be founded in the principles of Open Science and FAIRER (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable, Ethical, and Reproducible) data principles.


This new WG in formation will build upon the work begun by the RDA COVID19 Epidemiology subWG, but extend beyond the pandemic to provide actionable recommendations and guidelines. The workgroup will strive to use uniform definitions for the diseases and data elements to improve data comparibility and interoperability. Mortality data, for example, are not comparable due to discrepancies in cause of death certification thus limiting effective disease specific strategies. FAIRER epidemiological data will enable reuse by researchers using different modeling  approaches for determining causal relations (e.g., deterministic compartment models such as SEIR, causal loop analysis, and triangulation). Environmental exposure data, for example, where randomised controlled trials may have limited usability, and it becomes necessary to look at all of the evidence available from observational data to obtain more reliable answers.

Development will take place over 18 months.

Meeting agenda: 


During the session we will hear from Simon Hodson (Executive Director, CODATA), and Arofan Gregory. We will then review, discuss and edit the draft Case Statement


We will identify the areas to build and expand upon, new areas to add, and plan what will be done next by the new Epidemiology common standard for surveillance data WG.

  1. How we got here.

    • How the group was set-up.

    • Goals and objectives.

  2. Structuring the workplan.

    • Areas of work.

    • Collecting use cases.

  3. Building the team

    • Required areas of expertise.

    • This inter-disciplinary group will help us prepare comprehensive cross-cutting recommendations and guidelines.

    • Targeted outreach and communication of this WG will help attract the necessary domain and research expertise.

  4. How should we organise to do that

    • Identify volunteers to lead different parts of the work.

    • Targeted discussions at regular intervals (may be in sub WG)

Target Audience: 

Government and international agencies, policy and decision-makers, epidemiologists and public health experts, disaster preparedness and response experts, funders, data providers, teachers, researchers, clinicians, and other potential users.

Group chair serving as contact person: 
Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group: 

The goal is to publish recommendations and guidelines for a common standard for epidemiology data sharing globally with balanced participation from LMIC and HICs.

Short Group Status: 

Not yet endorsed. At the time of writing this session proposal, we are preparing development of the Case Statement which will be submitted to the RDA for endorsement. The description in the abstract above, will help seed that community activity. The 16th Plenary will be the first working meeting of this newly launched “Epidemiology WG” (to be renamed, "Epidemiology common standard for surveillance data reporting WG).

Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Avoid conflict with the following group (2): 
Meeting presenters: 
Claire Austin and Rajini Nagrani