COVID Data Infrastructure Builders: Creating Resilient and Sustainable Research Collaborations

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked thousands of new large-scale data projects globally. Projects such as The COVID Racial Data Tracker, WHO’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard, and others, collect and organize data flows that enable publics to see and comprehend the global health crisis. At a time when the pandemic is disrupting ongoing research across the globe, these projects can provide insights into how to create and maintain resilient and sustainable research-enabling data infrastructure during the pandemic. This proposed RAPID project uses a cross-national comparative study of public COVID data projects in the U.S. and India in order to identify the key factors that enable such vital projects to endure the social and material disruptions associated with the pandemic in varied geographies and institutional contexts. Findings from our research will provide concrete recommendations for how these data infrastructure can be made (1) sustainable; (2) accountable to different publics; and (3) identify how we can prepare future critical data infrastructures to help save lives. The cross-national and comparative dimension of our research will ensure that our findings are generalizable, while undertaking an international collaboration at this time will simultaneously help us test the strengths and limits of such an effort in the midst of constraints imposed by a pandemic. Because COVID data projects are dynamic, the information, practices, tools, and collaborators that populate these projects constantly evolve and the important adaptations that shape project outcomes are not easily preserved using current web archiving and cumulative public data preservation methods. An NSF RAPID award will allow our project team to capture this otherwise ephemeral data – allowing us to analyze and interpret how these projects were created and maintained under conditions of significant stress and resource constraints.

Grant Info


Megan Finn


National Science Foundation (NSF)



Start Date

Jan 1, 2020