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In the event of a pandemic — READ ME.

by Nati Carfi, Andres Aguilera and Cat Cortes

Artwork by

The Open Data Charter embarked on creating a data taxonomy for pandemic preparedness after hearing testimonial after testimonial from our Network and the broader open data community — COVID-19 data needed to be structured.

With support from CAF, we then partnered with CDS to create the first version of a COVID-19 Taxonomy, which we launched for public consultation in February 2021. While our target audience for the project was — and still is the government sector — input and comments from civil society organizations, epidemiologists and the private sector were welcomed. After incorporating all feedback for both the English and Spanish versions of the document, the ODC’s very pleased to share these final version of the COVID-19 Data Cards.

We hope this framework (available in English and Spanish) can act as the foundation towards building greater consistency around pandemic data release, and flag areas for better cooperation and standardisation within and between our governments and communities around the world.

How to use the COVID-19 Data Taxonomy

  • Understand the key concepts of the Pandemic Data Cards in order to adopt the best use, management and/or publication scheme according to the capacities of each government entity.
  • Identify the scope, depth, aggregation and detail of the available variables, defining the level of detail to be adopted and answering the questions in the use cases.
  • Identify the risks and mitigation of the use, management and/or publication of each data table to be managed or published.
  • Implement the COVID-19 data taxonomy mapping the available data to the built framework.
  • Write the publication policy (or management policy) that defines the update frequency, publication methods, file formats, responsible for providing the data, aims and objectives of the publication (or management), the fields to be included and omitted, and future plans to improve the work.
  • Optional: Publish the data under an open license, promoting its use and sharing the work.

Next Steps

If you’re a government with advanced open data capabilities, we encourage you to explore these cards and make use of them. If you are a civil society organization, you may learn from these data cards (in English or in Spanish) to demand this type of data standardization from your governments.

This work was started before the efforts to vaccinate began all over the world. If you would like to help us expand it with the latest data and information, we’d love to collaborate! Please e-mail us at




Learn how we are working towards a culture of open and responsible data use by governments and its citizens.

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