The network aims to maximise impact for key stakeholders by getting relevant, synthesised evidence and insights in a timely and coordinated manner, as well as bring ethics and equity in research practices and norms by exchanging innovations, protocols and instruments and research experiences. Given the rapidity of its spread and the depth of its impact, it is imperative that those working to better understand COVID-19 are empowered and encouraged to connect, collaborate, and share learnings quickly and innovatively. This approach will ideally act as a force multiplier, expanding the learnings from the field by removing unnecessary silos.
In order to build a community of practice between various research organizations, a Secretariat has been established to support these activities:
The pandemic presents a uniquely challenging problem to the research community. By bringing stakeholders together on a common collaborative platform, independent efforts can come together to enhance our collective understanding of this challenge together as well as discover and refine ways of addressing it.
The unprecedented nature of this complex challenge means that most research efforts will get some things right and others wrong. In this scenario, learning from and building on the experiences of others becomes crucial. Similarly, as research efforts address parts of the overall problem, pooling together knowledge (in the form of research instruments, protocols, insights etc.) becomes critical to tackle the overall challenge, while also ensuring that research efforts are held accountable to the highest ethical standards.
The network seeks to build partnerships (constellations rather than lone stars) based on shared values and trust. A key value would be to trust each other, and the network.
While the network seeks to engender a spirit of collaboration and partnership, member organisations of the network can participate to the extent that is useful and feasible for them. The guiding principle would be one of voluntary participation out of a sense of collective purpose.
Within the network, there is not only diversity of people, but also organisations and work cultures. Collaboration between these varying cultures can be challenging but this diversity can also be leveraged towards innovation. It is important to acknowledge this diversity and collaboratively find ways to work with and harness it.
A side-effect of diversity is that it can lead to disagreements stemming from diverging points of views. The mechanisms to address these should not devolve into conflict or contention. Instead these mechanisms, such as providing feedback, must be constructive.
Responsibility and ownership of data will remain with the organisation anchoring respective research efforts. The use of research findings will happen only with consent and within the framework of strict data privacy norms.