The RDA COVID-19 Epidemiology sub Working Group was set up in April, 2020. Its 83 members brought forward various global expertise to develop a body of work that comprises how epidemiology data informs response to a pandemic combined with guidelines and recommendations on data sharing under the present COVID-19 circumstances. The recommendations and guidelines are included in Chapter 5 of the overarching RDA-COVID19-WG report, and are aimed at helping policymakers and funders to maximise timely, quality data sharing in epidemiology and appropriate responses in such health emergencies.
In addition to recommendations and guidelines that focus on data sharing in epidemiology, additional supporting output, included a review and analysis of transparency in data sources, questionnaire instruments, privacy, a surveillance data model, Epi-TRACS for rapid detection and whole system response, a computable framework for public health and economic measures causal loops, and common data models and Epi-stack.
Development of the recommendations and guidelines was executed in an intense period of just over 5 weeks, with five iterative drafts, all of which were opened for public community comment. Work on the supporting output developed during this period continued following publication of the final recommendations and guidelines. The COVID-19 Epidemiology recommendations and guidelines found in Chapter 5 of the overarching report are also available in a standalone document together with the supporting output at DOI: https://doi.org/10.15497/rda00049
Collaborative Notes Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/152x_4GatlS3ogwDxqE4cZuvl5J-RFzbzEe0-...
1. What we did and why, and what we achieved.
- How the group was set-up, different areas of expertise, structuring the output, how the writing sprints worked, how the final document is being organised and audiences clarified.
- Privacy and Instruments papers have been accepted in SSRN. Working paper on population level data sources is in the final stages for submission to a preprint server.
- This work has been successfully leveraged in the development of external initiatives and funding opportunities.
2. Reflection on the strengths and weaknesses of the report. What is good about the report, what could be better?
- This multi-disciplinary group helped us prepare comprehensive cross-cutting recommendations and guidelines.
- Involvement of domain specific researchers would have resulted in additional perspectives.
3. What could/should we do next
How do we better identify adopters of the guidelines? Can we recruit adopters into the group to refine the recommendations and guidelines.
Can we collect and create case studies? Uses of the Recommendations & Guidelines - provide examples and collect cases.
4. How should we organise to do that
Interactive session led by a few people to solidify the plans and identify volunteers to lead different parts of the work.
Is our commitment to updating this particular document or to facilitating larger discussions/dissemination of the outputs? Where do we focus our energies?
The intended audience for the COVID-19 data sharing in epidemiology recommendations and guidelines are 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.
The fast-tracked parent work group, RDA-COVID19-WG was created at the request of the European Commission in rapid response to the pandemic. The goal of the RDA-COVID19-Epidemiology sub WG to publish recommendations and guidelines on COVID-19 data sharing in epidemiology, has been achieved. However, the pandemic and requirements for Open Science practices are still growing.
After five drafts open to public consultation and one draft opened to RDA governance structures for feedback and endorsement, the final version of the Recommendations and Guidelines on Data Sharing were published 30th June 2020. Since then, the sub-WG has continued to develop the COVID19-Epidemiology supporting output until the end of August, 2020. The group is now looking to determine its future shape and programme of work. In addition, a new RDA “Epidemiology WG” has been launched to build upon and extend the work started by the COVID19-Epidemiology WG.