Here we explain the requirements and recommendations for ZonMw’s research projects on COVID-19 along the subsequent phases from a grant proposal to the end of a research project. They relate to the 4 activities for open science and FAIR data.
The requirements and recommendations are summarized here.

The preparation phase. For researchers who plan a research project, and write a grant application, the following research activities apply.
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Transparency on research projects

Read section 2 to find information about transparency.

Requirement 1: Alignment and reuse

You are required to show in your grant application the options for reusing data, biological materials, and/or other resources in your project, in particular those from COVID-19 research.
For tips, look in section 2 at the overviews of projects, resources, and research activities that help to align research plans, find collaboration and options for reusing resources.

Requirement 2: preregistration of all animal studies

(For all other studies, preregistration is strongly recommended, but not required).
You are required (for animal studies) and recommended (for all other studies) to preregister you research plan (including the protocols, methods, etc), and show this in your grant application.
For tips, look in section 2 at the information about preregistration of a research plan in advance of your study.

Creating FAIR data

Read section 3 about creating FAIR data, tailored to the COVID-19 research community. Also, take notice of the support that is available for COVID-19 specific FAIR data management.
Check whether there are specific instructions on FAIR data management in the call for proposals.

Requirement 3: FAIR data within COVID-19 research community

You are required to show in your grant application the COVID-19 specific standards, technology or infrastructure for FAIR data management that you have selected to apply in your project.

Note that you do not need to submit a data management plan (DMP) in the application phase.
However, you do need to contact a data steward to start planning data management. You can plan data management according to the regular ZonMw instructions on FAIR data and data management, and the tips in section 3 for the COVID-19 specific resources for FAIR data stewardship.

Requirement 4: Budget

You need to plan a budget for research data management during your research project, and put it on the budget form of your grant application. This budget should include data stewardship, and the costs for the use of data services.

Plan the budget with your data steward. Decide whether you need to budget for additional services from data service providers are needed (e.g. from Health-RI, of VODAN), or extra e-infrastructure.

The performing phase Researchers who receive a grant for COVID-19 research start with the implementation of infrastructure and workflows. During the research project, they should consider how to share research findings and resources as soon as possible.
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Creating FAIR data

Read section 3 about creating FAIR data, tailored to the COVID-19 research community. Also, take notice of the support that is available for COVID-19 specific FAIR data management.
Check whether there are specific instructions on FAIR data management in the approval letter of your grant application.

Requirement 5: DMP and key items

You need to write a data management plan (DMP) at the beginning of your project, and complement and/or update it during your project. A number of issues from your DMP must be summarized (as far as available) in ZonMw’s list of key items. Send both documents to ZonMw.

Plan your data management and keep a DMP as explained in Data management in your project, and note the COVID-19 specific elements that are explained in section 3. Again you need to collaborate closely with your data steward, and decide about the COVID-19 specific elements that you apply (e.g. the machine readable version of the eCRF of the WHO):

  • Arrange a workflow that helps to create FAIR data during you research, and plan ways to allow reuse of your data as soon as possible.
  • Show in your DMP and in the list of key items, that you plan to deposit your data in a data repository that has at least the quality items listed in the EU Horizon2020 guidelines (p.5). Preferably, you deposit in a core trust seal certified repository.
  • Show whether you plan to install a FAIR data point, or use an existing one.
  • Show whether you will record your data in the RDF format to create machine readable data.
  • Show whether you can use the machine readable (RDF) format of the latest version of the eCRF (case record form) of the WHO (see section 3).
  • With respect to a metadata scheme: ZonMw plans to develop together with infectious disease and FAIR data experts a metadata scheme that is tailored for the COVID-19 research community. Information will follow on this website.

Transparency on research projects

Read section 2 to find information about transparency.
Given the urgency to find solutions for the current COVID-19 outbreak, and to build an infrastructure for future outbreaks, it is vital that you inform the research community as soon and as open as possible about your research project, your findings and (meta)data.

Requirement 6: research project (pre)registration

You must inform the COVID-19 research community about your research project as soon as possible by registering the project information on a community specific platform.

ZonMw will take care of the registration on the GLOPID-R research project tracker and RIVM Databronnen COVID-19. Both platforms are aimed at the COVID-19 research community. This is sufficient for this requirement. However, it is recommended to register your project on other platforms as well if they suit your specific research area. Following requirement 2, animal studies should already be preregistered in the Preclinical trial register for animal studies. You must confirm your registration(s) in the list of key items.

Requirement 7: research findings, open access publications

You need to share your research findings as soon as possible through open access publications. At the least, you list your open access publications in ProjectNet.
When reporting about your studies, it is strongly recommended, and required for animal studies, to adhere to reporting guidelines for health research studies of the EQUATOR network.

More detailed guidelines for open access publications are provided in the COVID-19 programme documents.
The reporting guidelines for health research of the EQUATOR network provide researchers with a structured list of information to help them to ensure that the results of a scientific manuscript can be replicated and the manuscript is suitable for inclusion in systematic reviews.

Requirement 8: access to research data and metadata

You need to provide access to your research data as soon as possible, and provide rich metadata to describe your datasets. Publish metadata on a data portal.  Plan the way to do that in your DMP, and summarize this in the list of key items.

Note that section 2 and 3 list some options for providing access to your data, and metadata.

At the end of the project
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At this phase, you finalise your DMP and complete the list of key items.
You summarize the results of your research activities for open science and FAIR data as explained in requirements 7 (research findings, open access publications) and 8 (access to research data and metadata). At the least, you list your open access publications in ProjectNet.

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