Network to support our pandemic response

Establishing a network of LSHTM staff, students and alumni to support our response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The response to the current COVID-19 pandemic has required unprecedented interventions and response globally. LSHTM has a long history of staff, students and alumni supporting outbreaks and emergencies and this one is no different. We are establishing a network of volunteers that can devote small amounts of time to crowd-sourced work. Crowd-sourcing splits large datasets/tasks into very small pieces, with the idea that each one only takes a few minutes. By having hundreds or thousands of people this allows you to clean or enter very large amounts of data quickly.

We would really like to get as many people as possible to help with the production of a series of datasets required for the response, and to be available as new pieces of work become required. Each piece of work will require only a small amount of time – we are aiming to keep this to 1-2 hours at most, many will be less than an hour. By having large numbers of participants we would not require everyone to work on each project.

As an example of the work, the initial project requires checking datasets about what interventions have been carried out in every country in the world. The dataset is being produce by LSHTM for WHO and all other responders. It requires checking a source page on the internet, checking dates, and some basic information about the intervention. Then entering this information into a form. We will be splitting the world up by country and then assigning each country to one, or a small group of volunteers. We hope to limit each person’s work to one hour, although you will be welcome to take on as many tasks as you like. This task will require you to view an excel file, other projects may not. This initial work will start either later this week (w/c 06/04/2020) or early next week (w/c 13/04/2020), but there will be future projects over the next weeks and months.

The nature of the global pandemic makes having people from each country, with as many languages as possible, more important than ever. It really does not require a lot of time to make a different, this is the whole reason crowd-sourcing is so useful. We hope to get as many people as possible to join up, even if they cannot help on this initial project. I promise you every single record you check or enter will be helpful.

Thank you for your support,
Professor Chris Grundy
Alice Perry, Head of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving