The outbreak of new Coronavirus infectious disease (COVID-19) that started in late 2019 has been designated as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. A completely new culture of doing research has emerged during this outbreak, as mentioned by researchers in the journal Science. One aspect of the new culture is rapid sharing of data and model results. Multiple datasets of transcribed case information have emerged early in the outbreak, and so far, we have identified 85 public sources of case data from 74 countries. Scientists have published close to a thousand COVID-19 reports and papers, including 150+ papers reporting estimates of epidemiological characteristics of the outbreak. These numbers are growing every day.
The MIDAS Online Portal for COVID-19 Modeling Research enables researchers and others to find and access information they need, in one central location, from the wealth of data and information that is publicly available and scattered over the internet. The Portal is an expansion of the existing MIDAS COVID-19 GitHub Repository, but with more information and better data navigation. We will continue the GitHub Repository to share computer-readable data and metadata, but the Portal will be the most comprehensive resource for human-readable information.
Since 2004, members of the MIDAS network, including researchers, students, and other professionals, have studied infectious disease dynamics using computational modeling. With over 300 members, MIDAS represents an unprecedented wealth of knowledge and scientific capability to better understand the COVID-19 outbreak and its public health implications. Many MIDAS members are conducting modeling research on COVID-19 and are contributing to an extraordinary international collection of data and information regarding the outbreak.
The wealth of data and information emerging from the scientific and public health community can be difficult to navigate, and reports about confusion regarding data provenance and comparability have emerged in the news and social media. The MIDAS Coordination Center and the broader MIDAS community will be using established Data Science Principles – unique, persistent identifiers; rich, computer-interpretable metadata; and standard terminology systems – to improve the discovery and use of COVID-19 data to improve public health. The MIDAS Online Portal for COVID-19 Modeling Research will list data and information with rich and standard metadata to enable researchers to rapidly identify the value and use of each dataset for their projects.
The Portal already contains a substantial amount of curated information about COVID-19. We realize that much more data exists that has not yet been curated. We will continue to move forward with data curation and grow the content of the Portal while heavily depending on continued community contributions to strengthen this central resource for the global COVID-19 modeling effort.