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05 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a major test for our science system and for our research and data infrastructures. These infrastructures, such as open science clouds and data commons, must serve the needs of science, policy, and humanity not only in ‘normal times’, but also in times of crisis by providing controlled access to quality data in real time and at scale for a range of scientific- and policy-related responses.

Governments and funders across the globe are launching and funding initiatives to ensure that pivotal decisions are made based on the best available science to mobilise stakeholders for the current situation.

There is the need and opportunity to unite existing initiatives and accelerate the development of core services to help meet the current crisis. We must manage expectations and be clear on the limitations of what can be achieved. At the same time, it is essential to rise to the challenge and ensure that what is implemented for COVID-19 is sustainable and scalable.

The Data Together Organisations—​comprising CODATA, GO FAIR, RDA and WDS​—in response to the problems listed below, jointly contend that it is essential to meet both the immediate needs and the long-term objectives of global science by ensuring that data and science platforms and infrastructures are based on the FAIR Principles. This will maximise the ability to combine, visualise, and use data from many sources; facilitate fine-grained data access and protection; and allow for decentralised and machine-assisted analysis.

In summary, the current situation requires the accelerated implementation of a FAIR ecosystem. The need to act quickly should not lead to lowering our ambition as to what research and data infrastructure is needed, or to our accepting the view that a conventional portal is sufficient without an underlying FAIR infrastructure.

Read the full statetement at the RDA website here: