COVID-19 research response team: fighting the virus together

An interdisciplinary COVID-19 research response team is emerging at the VU. The goal of the team is to bring together the expertise available at the university so that the team can succeed in helping researchers perform high-quality research on COVID-19-related topics.

06/23/2020 | 5:00 PM

The pandemic is having a major impact on healthcare and society. Many funders are looking into possibilities for financing research into the coronavirus. At the same time, the funders raise very high requirements for COVID-19 research to follow the principles of open science and FAIR data management. See, for example, the requirements of ZonMw which touch upon the following research activities:

●    Transparency on research projects
●    Creating FAIR data
●    Access to research data
●    Sharing of research findings through open access publications

In some fields, there is already a tradition of making data FAIR. However, for most disciplines, these requirements are new. Researchers and support personnel face a lot of uncertainty with respect to their implementation.

Researchers are kindly requested to contact us for help with the data management aspects of their research when they apply for a grant or when they get funded. In this way, the COVID-19 research response team can find options to collaborate and to prevent duplication of effort.

A network of support personnel:
VU employees supporting research projects on COVID-19 can join the newly emerging network “COVID-19 research response”. By collaborating, we can support each other and build upon the expertise that they already have. At the moment, COVID-19 research support team includes data stewards from faculties, colleagues from IT, security, the grants desk, the research support department of the library, and privacy lawyers from institutional and legal affairs. The team gratefully acknowledges support of the Amsterdam Institute of Molecular and Life Sciences (AIMMS).

Within the team, there are four focus groups at the moment:
1) Privacy/informed consent
2) Metadata and interoperability
3) Storage
4) Security

If you would like to get involved, you can send a message to Lena Karvovskaya, community manager RDM. You can also contact Brett Olivier, data steward for AIMMS to discuss issues related to metadata and interoperability.

Researchers wanted:
To help researchers with the practical implementation of open science and FAIR principles in their projects, we need discipline-specific expertise. For example, on the real-world implementation of interoperability and reusability metadata, data sharing, etc. Therefore, the team is very happy that several experienced researchers have already joined them to help make the COVID-19 data interoperable. Many thanks to Sanne Abeln, Michael Crusoe, and Erman Acar.

We welcome more researchers and RDM experts in institutes and departments, willing to volunteer their knowledge and time, to help colleagues with making their COVID-19 research data available for re-use. Are you interested in fighting COVID-19 together?

What is needed:
●    Your interest in COVID-19 research (even if you are not planning to submit a project yourself)
●    Your name and email
●    Your faculty/department
●    Some information on what your interests are and what your expertise is: what kind of questions can you imagine answering. You don’t need to be an expert in COVID-19, what we are looking for is interested in research transparency its implementation for your discipline

What is offered:
●    Access to the network of experts. You don’t need to help your colleagues alone; the whole network will be there to support you
●    The team can facilitate your interactions with similar networks outside of VU (there are connections to national initiatives like LCRDM, data steward interest group, GO FAIR, etc)
●    The team will keep you updated about our joint progress and achievements
●    By joining the COVID-19 research response team, you contribute to the long-term fight against the corona virus!