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In JMIR public health and surveillance

The emergence of COVID-19 spurred the formation of myriad teams to tackle every conceivable aspect of the virus and thwart its spread. Enabled by global digital connectedness, collaboration has become a constant theme throughout the pandemic, resulting in expedition of the scientific process (including vaccine development), rapid consolidation of global outbreak data and statistics, and experimentation with novel partnerships. To document the evolution of these collaborative efforts, the authors collected illustrative examples as the pandemic unfolded, supplemented with publications from the JMIR COVID-19 Special Issue. Over 60 projects rooted in collaboration are categorized into five main themes: knowledge dissemination; data propagation; crowdsourcing; artificial intelligence; and hardware design and development. They highlight the numerous ways that citizens, industry professionals, researchers, and academics have come together globally to consolidate information and produce products to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, researchers and citizen scientists scrambled to access quality data, within an overwhelming quantity of information. As global curated data sets emerged, derivative works, such as visualizations or models, were developed that depended on consistent data and which would fail when there were unanticipated changes. Crowdsourcing was used to collect and analyze data, aid in contact tracing, and to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) by sharing open designs for 3D printing. International consortium of entrepreneurs and researchers created a ventilator based on open-source design. A coalition of NGOs and governmental organizations led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy created a shared open resource of over 200,000 research publications about COVID-19 and subsequently offered cash prizes for the best solutions to 17 key questions involving artificial intelligence. A thread of collaboration weaved throughout the pandemic response, which will shape future efforts. Novel partnerships will cross boundaries to create better processes, products, and solutions to consequential societal challenges.

Bernardo Theresa Marie, Sobkowich Kurtis Edward, Forrest Russell Othmer, Stewart Luke Silva, D’Agostino Marcelo, Perez Enrique, Gillis Daniel