Working paper Open Access

Response from SSHOC on COVID-19

Ron Dekker; Laura Morales

The EC has requested Research Infrastructures and RI Projects to respond how they can set up possible actions that can be oriented towards the objective to create a European data platform for COVID-19 related information exchange.

Our goal is to remove barriers that hinder high-quality, reproducible science leading to evidence-based interventions, such as

  • Non-availability of relevant data – over countries, from various sources. Some data might be lost forever if they are not collected in due course.
  • Need for a data panel to collect actions, attitudes and behaviours of citizens. We need a coordinated, web-based platform to collect data of citizens. This must be done in multiple countries (languages, cultural differences).
  • Limited accessibility of data. Some data require security or privacy-protection measures and can only be accessed by remote access techniques.
  • Difficulties of finding the data (by humans and machines),There is a massive data lake on social behaviour. Depending on the type of the crisis we need to filter out relevant data quickly. This is hindered due to lack of standardised descriptions (metadata) and physical spread of the data over countries and locations.
  • Extensive efforts needed to combine data (over countries, over types of data), Multilinguality and differences in data types hinder data comparison and data integration, and would require large and time consuming efforts by researchers.

The Data Portal should be designed to become a Scientific Commons and Virtual Collection on all the relevant (non-medical) social and political/policy data on the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. 

It should cover data and research from the multiple disciplines that are relevant (e.g. demography, economics, linguistics/natural language processing, media and communication studies, migration studies, political science, psychology, sociology, urban studies, etc.). 

It should incorporate the great variety of data formats (official statistics, surveys, registers, social media, qualitative, multi-media data, etc.) in which data relating to the COVID-19 emergency 

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