#Data4COVID19 Round-Up — 29 April 2021

Andrew J. Zahuranec
Apr 29 · 3 min read

Welcome to The GovLab’s #Data4COVID19 Round-Up. This temporary, weekly curation will provide you with notable updates to the #Data4COVID19 data collaborative repository and other information meant to facilitate data stewardship in the ongoing pandemic. Have an interesting novel coronavirus-related project worth sharing? Send it to us at datastewards@thegovlab.org so we can consider it as an addition.

PHOTO: Unsplash/Bofu Shaw is licensed under CC0

Understanding the Value and Role of Mobility Data

Earlier this month, The GovLab, Cuebiq, and Open Data Institute released “The Use of Mobility Data for Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which relied on several case studies to look at the opportunities, risks, and challenges associated with mobility data. However, understanding what mobility data is and the concerns around its use can often be difficult.

To address these gaps, The GovLab and Cuebiq released a supplement to this report, a brief on what mobility data is and the different types of data it can include. It notes that mobility data includes all data about the geographic location of a device passively produced through normal activity and provides brief, high-level summaries about the value of call detail records, software development kits, geotagged social media data, and other resources. Our hope is that this piece can introduce some clarity on a complex and often confusing topic.

The full brief can be found here.

Unanswered COVID-19 Questions

Question-driven methodologies are a major component of The GovLab’s work, both on #Data4COVID19 and in its other activities. They help data practitioners understand the value that can be generated from certain types of research and narrow their focus on issues that matter. The GovLab’s The 100 Questions Initiative seeks to develop a process that takes advantage of distributed and diverse expertise on various topics so as to identify and prioritize those questions that are high impact, novel and feasible. The #Data4COVID19 Topic Map came into being out of a recognition that we need to identify and ask better questions to use data effectively in the current crisis.

In line with this work, we want to use this week’s newsletter to highlight a recent article from StatNews on the value of questioning. Written by Helen Branswell, “We know a lot about Covid-19. Experts have many more questions” notes that, while we’ve learned much about COVID-19 in the last 16 months, scientists still have major questions about the disease. To understand what questions still plague the research community, StatNews made use of smarter crowdsourcing techniques, asking “more than two dozen virologists, epidemiologists, immunologists, and evolutionary biologists shared with [it] their top question.”

The result is a nuanced listing of various health questions, ranging from questions about symptoms (“What accounts for the wide variety of human responses to this virus?”), immunity (“How long will immunity last?), transmission (“Can we figure out who might become a superspreader?), and response (“The impact of the nonpharmaceutical interventions). The article describes why specific scientists are interested in these questions, what the answers of these questions might be, and why they are important.

You can also find additional resources related to data stewardship and data collaboration here. Have an interesting novel coronavirus-related project worth sharing? Send it to us at datastewards@thegovlab.org so we can consider it as an addition.

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