OECD Covid-19 Principles and Discussion Papers

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May 2020



Science policy is more important today than ever before. Across the world, researchers are racing to learn more about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and develop treatments and vaccines, while governments are increasingly relying on scientific expertise to help inform policies and protect citizens. We take a closer look at each of these dynamics in our latest COVID-19 policy briefs, detailing how open science can help accelerate scientific research, and how governments can help ensure that scientific advice is clearly communicated to both policy makers and the general public. 

Our understanding of COVID-19 is evolving by the day and the way forward is still far from clear, but we hope the briefs below can guide policy makers in strengthening our knowledge base and the policies needed to act on it.  

Andrew Wyckoff
OECD Director for Science, Technology and Innovation

Providing science advice to policy makers during COVID-19

- 5th May 2020

Principles for science advice

It is critically important for scientists and policy makers to work together to develop and implement policies that have the greatest likelihood of success in responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This is particularly challenging in a situation where much of the evidence is uncertain and is evolving rapidly. Scienceadvisory processes are organised differently in different countries but they invariably engage a variety of institutions, committees and individuals to assess and provide evidence to policy makers.

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Why open science is critical to combatting COVID-19

- Updated 12th May 2020

In the current global emergency, scientific discovery has evolved much more rapidly than before. The full genome of COVID-19 was published barely a month after the first patient was admitted into Wuhan hospital,as an open-access publication in The Lancet. This is to be compared with a five-month delay in the case of SARS outbreak in 2002-03, a large part of this delay being due to an information blackout in the first months of the SARS epidemic. Lessons from previous outbreaks have underscored the importance of sharing data and publications in order to combat the disease.

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Crowdsourcing STI policy responses to COVID-19

- 14th May 2020

New approaches to unprecedented challenges The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis presents exceptional challenges across all aspects of public policy. Within the context of science, technology and innovation (STI), governments are increasingly seeking to draw on society’s full potential for innovation, using collective intelligence. By efficiently harnessing the knowledge and expertise of groups, and focusing this on specific research, innovation and policy problems, such approaches could help governments address the current pandemic, as well as future crises.

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