In June 2020, Sweden became the first European country to release a national COVID-19 data portal for researchers. Since then, the portal has grown as more and more research projects have made their data available, new projects have started and new data services have been established. The portal is operated by SciLifeLab in collaboration with the Swedish Research Council (SRC).
Through the portal, researchers can search for, and share COVID-19-specific data in both Swedish and international databases. They can also receive practical support with data management and data sharing as well as getting information regarding research projects, publications and sample collections, related to Swedish COVID-19 research.
The national portal is directly linked to the European COVID-19 data portal, developed on behalf of the European Commission, by the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI). EBI is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), of which Sweden is a member. This makes it easier for Swedish researchers to access tools and services that facilitates data sharing internationally.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how important it is for researchers to share their results and data with other researchers at an early stage, both nationally and internationally. This requires a common platform with a strong user support making the information accessible and useful to everyone. This is exactly what we have achieved by developing the Swedish COVID-19 data portal”, says Johan Rung, head of Scilifelab’s data center (DC).
Since the start, more content are regularly added to the portal, such as new datasets, databases for project, publications and calls for funding, as well as expanded data management guidelines and other services. The publication database currently holds more than 900 publications with co-authors at Swedish universities. In February, SciLifeLab will launch yet another database, containing COVID-19 related sample collections and biobanks in collaboration with Biobank Sweden.
Through the portal, SciLifeLab’s Data Centre (DC) and bioinformatics platform (NBIS) can interact directly with researchers regarding data management support. Since the start, the portal has had almost 12,000 users and 62,000 page views.
Today, four other national portals are in operation alongside the Swedish one and the central EBI portal – three other European countries and Japan, in several cases built with code shared by the Swedish portal team.
“Internationally, we have received a very good response. Thanks to the portal, we now have a strong and well-established collaboration with other countries and their research data sharing initiatives as well as with the large joint European infrastructures. This results in an increased scientific impact for the projects that make their data available”, says Johan Rung.
“The Swedish Research Council co-finances the portal with SEK 6 million and is responsible for coordinating with the European initiative. Researchers who are granted funding by the Swedish Research Council are expected to publish their research data and research results publicly available as soon as possible and in accordance with current legislation”, writes SRC , in a news article.
Click here to visit the portal.