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Advice for corona research
There is still a lot we do not know about coronavirus. Fortunately, research communities around the world have risen to the challenge and are now trying to find answers which will enable us to respond effectively to the pandemic.
Research has already given us new knowledge which gives us better control over the pandemic and led to better treatment in hospitals. However, the high tempo has also been a challenge. Many research projects are looking to answer the same questions and collect separate data rather than share and work together. Smaller studies could have been combined to form larger projects of better quality. This duplication means we get less out of our combined efforts and imposes an unnecessary burden on study participants.
Collaboration is vital
Researchers must collaborate more regarding the planning and execution of studies. In a small country like Norway, such cooperation is always important, but it is even more important during this pandemic, when we urgently need as much high-quality knowledge as possible. Although many research communities in Norway have focused their attention on coronavirus, the human and financial resources we have at our disposal are limited and must be utilised optimally.
The knowledge programme for COVID-19, which will help to coordinate research efforts. The programme has drawn up a checklist for researchers who are either planning or carrying out research projects relating to COVID-19. This checklist is intended as a guide and aims to reduce the burden on study participants, ensure that the health service and public authorities gain more knowledge through better quality studies, and make better use of the resources we jointly have at our disposal.
The target group comprises researchers and management in research institutions which have an overarching role. Institutions can contribute resources to help establish overviews of research initiatives, develop joint services and otherwise support researchers in following the checklist. Those who fund research may also encourage use of the checklist.
Five good pieces of advice for coronavirus research
- Build on research that has already been done
Always consider knowledge summaries and completed studies when formulating your own research questions.
- Share your ideas and find out what others are doing
Communicate with other research communities and discuss your plans. See whether others are working on similar issues or collecting data which you could use too. By sharing ideas and research questions and telling others about your coronavirus research, we can achieve more together.
- Collaboration with others
Consider whether certain aspects of your project could be merged with another project. Perhaps it might be possible to draw up joint protocols, share data, and collaborate regarding analyses? Coordinate communication with patients and the general population to simplify communication and minimise the burden.
- Explain what you are doing
For some disciplines, there are local and national overviews to which projects can be notified, while for other disciplines, it is desirable that the research institutions develop their own overviews. By keeping track of coronavirus research in Norway, research efforts can be better prioritised and potential partners can join together.
- Share data and research results
Plan from the start how data that is collected can be shared securely and efficiently. Aim for quality assurance and the sharing and dissemination of research results at as early a stage as possible. Consider advance publication. Communicate with potential target groups and decision-makers at an early stage, and consider whether findings can be shared along the way.