Photo by CDC on Unsplash
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become ever apparent that we are living in a “new normal,” with countless adjustments to make both big and small. Within academia, the coronavirus has forced a shift to extended distance learning and working. It’s pushed scholarly journals and volunteer peer reviewers to work double-time to vet novel coronavirus-related findings, and necessitated more rapid research dissemination methods. Broadly, COVID-19 has magnified the need for expanded research access, as well as efforts to combat public misinformation.

Now is a nerve-wracking time, but it is also one illuminating the power of access to information and the power of community. Within academia, resources are coming out to help scholarly institutions cope with COVID-19, and researchers are taking steps to educate the public about concepts like “flattening the curve” to convey the gravity of the situation while also providing some reassurance in these anxious days.

We know that there is a lot of information to follow right now. To help you keep up, we’ve rounded up some of the top resources we’ve found for navigating COVID-19 in 4 key areas:

  1. Institutional response and distance learning
  2. Remote working and social distancing
  3. Peer review and publication planning
  4. Tracking and communicating COVID-19 updates

We are updating this post with new resources as they become available. We encourage you to share anything that you think should be added in the comments section.

Institutional response and distance learning

For academic institutions around the globe, COVID-19 is forcing rapid changes in institutional operations as well as instructional planning and delivery. Below is helpful information on how institutions are approaching COVID-19 as well as resources for transitioning to distance learning.

Institutional responses to COVID-19:

Distance learning:

Remote working and social distancing

Within academia and other sectors, many organizations are instating optional or mandatory work-from-home policies in efforts to help flatten the curve for COVID-19. At Scholastica, we have decided on a mandatory work from home policy. As an already remote-friendly office, we have many remote working tools and processes in place. Below are a few top tips we wanted to share based on our team’s remote working experience (for more insights from our team check out our “Transitioning to extended remote work“ guide):

  1. Put ample communication channels with designated purposes in place (e.g. Slack with channels by department or topic, so people know where to find each other and the best ways to facilitate organized and efficient communication).
  2. Maintain human contact with video conferencing tools — live personal connection throughout the really day matters, try not to go without it. (There are many great free options like Google Hangouts and Skype that institutions and individuals can use.)
  3. Encourage and model taking healthy breaks. (When you work remotely it can be easy to forget to turn off the screen for a few moments. Remembering to take time to eat and move about and letting others know you’re doing so is really important).

We hope those quick tips from our team are helpful! Here are some other resources on remote working and social distancing:

Remote working:

Social distancing:

  • What are the rules of social distancing?: Experts explain social distancing best practices and share advice in this Vox article.
  • COVID-19: Dealing with Social Distancing: Judy Moskowitz, professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University, shares advice on coping with limited social interactions.
  • Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19: CDC guidance on managing anxiety and stress during the coronavirus pandemic.

Peer review and publication planning

The COVID-19 pandemic is placing heightened demands on many academic journals and their peer reviewers, with the need for expedited vetting and dissemination of coronavirus-related research. Journal teams and scholars on the front lines are sharing their experiences and lessons learned to help develop collective best practices for peer review and publishing in the time of a pandemic. At the same time, all journals across disciplines are having to make editorial and publishing adjustments to accommodate different needs of scholars in the disrupted research environment, with many now away from their labs and working to juggle work, research, and home demands. Below are some helpful peer review and publication planning resources we’ve found:

Adjusting editorial workflows

Maintaining quality standards

  • EASE Statement on Quality Standards: EASE calls for all gathering and publishing coronavirus-related data to adhere to ethical best practices and follow standard reporting guidelines.
  • Rapid evaluation of COVID19-related Registered Reports: Registered Reports editor at Royal Society Open Science, Chris Chambers, announces a new form of rapid review for RRs to help researchers get early review of their coronavirus-related studies and curb the potential for publication and reporting bias (includes list of participating publishers).
  • Letter from the COPE Chair: April 2020: COPE’s chair Deborah Poff discusses the many new challenges editors face in response to COVID-19 and guidance for maintaining quality standards.

Tracking and communicating COVID-19 updates

The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the information agility of academics around the world, with tons of new research literature to keep abreast of and an onus to identify and combat public misinformation to promote expeditious and accurate responses to this pandemic. Below are some of the top places to freely access the latest coronavirus research for scholars, as well as some top resources academics have been sharing to help educate the general public and prevent the spread of COVID-19 myths.

Freely accessible COVID-19 research collections:

Below are some of the latest freely available research collections and datasets on COVID-19:

Public education and outreach:

Facing the COVID-19 pandemic as an academic and global community

We are navigating uncharted waters — if there has ever been a time for that phrase to ring true it is now. These are incredibly trying and unfamiliar days. It is also in such times that we see the immense power of information access and community to spur action.

We hope that this roundup of resources will help those in academia navigate COVID-19. Major kudos to all of the organizations and individuals developing these COVID-19 resources and making them freely available. We will be updating this blog with new information. We invite you to share any resources that you think should be added to this post.

This blog post was originally published on the 18th of March 2020, and updated on the 27th of April 2020 with additional resource listings and a new section on peer review and publication planning.