Data is a crucial tool against COVID-19



Data is a crucial tool against COVID-19

In a joint editorial article in Nature Scientific Data, leading research institutions, including CSH, call for improved data collection on infectious diseases

In order to analyze the effectiveness of political and social measures in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, science depends on data that is as complete, clean and up-to-date as possible. 

Hundreds of thousands of pieces of data on how governments responded to the pandemic were collected by leading research groups, including the Complexity Science Hub Vienna, Technical University of Munich, Johns Hopkins University, University of Oxford, and University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, as well as the humanitarian non-profit ACAPS.

The data can be used to answer fundamental questions such as: How effective are school closures in containing the spread of the virus? What travel restrictions make good sense? How should contact tracing be organized?


“This paper is a noteworthy international and collaborative effort that provides concrete examples on how public health and social measures (PHSM) data can help understanding the current public health crisis and how it can inform future pandemic preparedness plan,” says co-author Amélie Desvars-Larrive, a researcher at CSH and a professor at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna.

Despite the importance of this data, there is a lack of appropriate financial resources for data collection, especially in countries with a scarcity of resources, highlight the authors of the editorial article. The data are not only necessary to understand causes and effects, but also make it possible for the scientific community to better advise states and governments in case of future health crises.


C. Cheng, A. Desvars-Larrive, B. Ebbinghaus, et al
Scientific Data
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