Using Open Source, Open Data, and Civic Technology to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic and Infodemic

Yearb Med Inform. 2021 Aug;30(1):38-43. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1726488. Epub 2021 Apr 21.


Objectives: The emerging COVID-19 pandemic has caused one of the world's worst health disasters compounded by social confusion with misinformation, the so-called "Infodemic". In this paper, we discuss how open technology approaches - including data sharing, visualization, and tooling - can address the COVID-19 pandemic and infodemic.

Methods: In response to the call for participation in the 2020 International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) Yearbook theme issue on Medical Informatics and the Pandemic, the IMIA Open Source Working Group surveyed recent works related to the use of Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) for this pandemic.

Results: FLOSS health care projects including GNU Health, OpenMRS, DHIS2, and others, have responded from the early phase of this pandemic. Data related to COVID-19 have been published from health organizations all over the world. Civic Technology, and the collaborative work of FLOSS and open data groups were considered to support collective intelligence on approaches to managing the pandemic.

Conclusion: FLOSS and open data have been effectively used to contribute to managing the COVID-19 pandemic, and open approaches to collaboration can improve trust in data.

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information
  • COVID-19*
  • Health Information Exchange
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Software*