On October 5, Health-RI will demonstrate the COVID-19 Data Portal, which was developed with co-funding from the ZonMw COVID-19 research programme.

Logo, HealthRI, DTL, GOFAIR, ZonMw en robot

The portal facilitates researchers to search, find and analyse information, and to request data according to the associated license, and governance. The portal exposes the information about COVID-19 research projects that is provided through COVID-19 specific FAIR metadata. ZonMw’s COVID-19 projects that provided these metadata can thereby be found on the portal.

Demonstration of the COVID-19 Data Portal

The COVID-19 Data Portal will be demonstrated during the Health-RI conference on the occasion of the start of the National Growth Fund (Groeifonds in Dutch). This funding powers Health-RI to accelerate the work on a national health data infrastructure. For ZonMw, this will create an important opportunity to further enhance the reusability of data (and other outputs) from its research projects. For science and society as a whole, it will improve the range of resources that become available for future research, innovation, and policymaking.

Workflow to FAIRify COVID-19 data

The significant impact of corona urged us to develop together with GO FAIR Foundation, DTL and Health-RI a workflow, tools and a data portal to facilitate COVID-19 researchers to produce FAIR data, i.e. data that are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. The development of these FAIR data services in the COVID-19 programme is in its final phase.

As a result, we now have COVID-19 specific metadata-for-machines (M4M) templates available. These are M4M forms that researchers can use to describe their research projects and databases in a standardised way. The information (metadata) that is provided by researchers in this way, is ‘machine readable’. This means that a computer (‘machine’) can find, understand and use the information. Data become more FAIR when they are accompanied by such machine readable metadata.

The COVID-19 Data Portal that Health-RI developed, exposes the metadata. The machine readable metadata thereby become available as ‘human readable’ information as well. Irrespective of the institute where each project's data is stored, the data portal facilitates for anyone who is interested to find the information about the COVID-19 projects and the data.

Researchers and data stewards are involved

A special feature of FAIR metadata-for-machines (M4M) templates, is that they capture the information about the data in a standardised way, making use of topics and vocabularies (language) that are commonly used within the research community. We therefore organised a number of workshops with the COVID-19 researchers and their data stewards to choose and agree on these elements. GO FAIR Foundation used this input from the research community to develop COVID-19 M4M templates that are well fit to describe the COVID-19 projects and datasets.

What can be done with the metadata that thus becomes available?

The information that is derived from the metadata and exposed on the COVID-19 Data Portal is open for anyone who is interested. Researchers, innovators, professionals and policy makers can benefit from it for their activities. The standardised descriptions, using terms that are meaningful for the COVID-19 research area, allows them to easily find, analyse and compare the information. Furthermore, someone who is interested the use a dataset that is described on the portal, can send a request through the portal. Data become available according to the associated license, and governance defined per dataset.


This COVID-19 Data Portal is a collaboration of HEALTH-RI, GO FAIR Foundation and ZonMw. Through this, we enable reuse of data to contribute to future innovations in health and health research. At present. the Data Portal exposes COVID-19 research. ZonMw will continue to develop community specific M4M templates, resulting in information on the data portal. Information about antimicrobial resistance and infectious diseases will follow soon, as well as other topics in the near future.

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