York University Libraries create a new, globally accessible COVID-19 research guide

Responding with agility to the COVID-19 pandemic, York University’s Dean of Libraries, Joy Kirchner, has spearheaded the production of an innovative new resource that will be of tremendous use for researchers inside and outside of the University, including collaborators and partners across the globe.

“A library-wide effort, this research guide was largely an exercise in capturing to what extent COVID-19 research is available open access (without cost to view),” Andrea Kosavic, associate dean, Digital Engagement and Strategy explains. “That the guide has so much to highlight speaks to a commitment to open access on a global scale, one that York University formalized publicly when the Senate passed our Open Access Policy in June 2019."

The resource also highlights research available to York community members that is purchased by York University Libraries and available through databases and e-book platforms.

From left: Joy Kirchner and Andrea Kosavic

From left: Joy Kirchner and Andrea Kosavic

York University is a leader in this area. “York is committed to disseminating the research performed at the University in ways that make it widely accessible, while protecting the intellectual property rights of its authors,” Kirchner emphasizes. “Opening boundaries to access research could not be more relevant today. The urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic demanded that we get this new resource up and running swiftly.”

The need in the research community is great. “With the plethora of information and research being released around COVID-19, this new resource will be of tremendous use for researchers inside and outside of York, including collaborators and partners across the world,” said then-interim vice-president Research & Innovation Rui Wang. “In response to the pandemic, York has already produced peer-reviewed research in areas like mathematical modelling, social and psychological ramifications of COVID-19, and emergency planning. This new resource will capture all of these efforts in one spot.”

typing writing computer

This new resource will be of tremendous use for researchers inside and outside of York, including collaborators and partners across the world

Comprehensive guide, instantly understandable

This guide offers a number of recommendations on main sources to consider when conducting research on COVID-19. Importantly, it is co-authored by Librarians Peter Gorman, Walter Giesbrecht, Rosa Orlandini, John Dupuis and Minglu Wang, with contributions from Dany Savard and Anna St.Onge. It consolidates and draws on  international resources compiled by many other librarians, archivists, scholars and others.

The guide is structured into various sections, including:

  • Core Sources, which breaks down into categories:
    • A featured resource – currently showcasing the COVID-19 Global Health Portal, created by the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research;
    • COVID-19 databases and publication lists, such as LitCovid, a curated literature hub for tracking up-to-date scientific information about the 2019 novel coronavirus;
    • COVID-19 and open science, including a resource from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) that looks at how funders, governments, libraries and research communities are advocating for more access to information to support research on COVID-19 through formal calls to action;
    • COVID-19 and misinformation – essential in this era of fake news;
    • Public health authorities – public information resources, including the World Health Organization and the Government of Canada; and
    • Other resources and research tools.
  • Research Data Sources, which falls into the following categories:
    • Data dashboards and visualizations;
    • Data sets and sources – Canada; and
    • Data sets and sources – International.
  • Literature Searching, which includes information on the most current PubMed search results in this area, and pre-populated searches on the topic in different databases.
York University has led the way in open access. It is committed to disseminating the research performed at the University in ways that make it widely accessible

York University has led the way in open access. It is committed to disseminating the research
performed at the University in ways that make it widely accessible

Open access policy at York speaks to core values

This new resource reflects York’s dedication to open access, which is embedded in the University’s core values at the highest levels. The Open Access Policy at York supports the advancement of the University Academic Plan (UAP) 2015-2020 priority to advancing exploration, innovation and achievement in scholarship, research and related creative activities, under which a defined outcome is to: “Expand open access to York research in order to enhance visibility, open disciplinary boundaries and facilitate sharing knowledge more freely with the world.”

This policy also responds to the 2016 Plan for the Intensification and Enhancement of Research (PIER) recommendation that “York should develop transparent open access publishing and appropriate research data management policies that are inclusive and reflect the core values of the University.”

Central to operationalizing our commitment to open access at York University is the YorkSpace institutional repository, which serves as a point of aggregation, preservation and dissemination of the work of York researchers. Here, one can find a wealth of resources, including theses and dissertations, prize-winning student works, researcher communities and publications, artistic works, data and learning objects – all preferentially indexed for heightened discovery in Google. YorkSpace is one of over 5,300 repositories worldwide that seek to offer equitable, barrier-free access to research for the general public and researchers alike.

This new resource will be updated on a regular basis.

To see the new resource, visit the website. For more information on York’s open access policy, visit the website and/or read a related YFile story about it. To visit York University Libraries, go to the website.

To learn more about Research & Innovation at York, follow us at @YUResearch; watch our new video, which profiles current research strengths and areas of opportunity, such as Artificial Intelligence and Indigenous futurities; and see the snapshot infographic, a glimpse of the year’s successes.

By Megan Mueller, senior manager, Research Communications, Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, York University, muellerm@yorku.ca

For more York University news, photos and videos, visit the YFile homepage