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In Frontiers in research metrics and analytics

Scientific diasporas are organized groups of professionals who work together to contribute to their country of origin. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, scientific diasporas around the world have focused their efforts to support the public health response in their countries of origin. As the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Guatemala in March of 2020, a team of four Guatemalan nationals, residing abroad and in-country, started collaborating to tackle COVID-19 misinformation and issues with healthcare services navigation. Their collaboration was facilitated by FUNDEGUA, a Guatemalan nonprofit, which provided a legal framework to establish partnerships and fundraise. The team created a digital technological system called ALMA (Asistente de Logística Médica Automatizada in Spanish). A female character named ALMA was created to personify the digital information services, through social media profiles, an interactive website, a free national multilingual call center, and an artificial intelligence-based chatbot. More members joined the nascent interdisciplinary diaspora through professional/personal references or social media. ALMA provided a platform for Guatemalan nationals to contribute with their skillset to their country during a global crisis through flexible schedules and short- or long-term involvement. As the team grew, the services for query resolution and information dissemination expanded as well. The ALMA initiative shows that scientific diasporas can provide an avenue for professionals to contribute to Guatemala, regardless of their residence and job commitments.

Alvarado Juan Roberto, Lainfiesta Ximena, Paniagua-Avila Alejandra, Asturias Gabriela


COVID-19 pandemic, Guatemala, brain circulation, capacity building, chatbot, scientific diasporas, technology