Building off of the success of MuckRock’s Assignments crowdsourcing tool, COVID-19 DataCollector serves as a flexible, research-on-demand platform that harnesses widespread interest in volunteering to help collect, clean, and analyze key data sets in the public interest related to the COVID-19 crisis. Over the last two years, the open source crowdsourcing tool Assignments has made it easy for newsrooms, non-profits, and other institutions to crowdsource the review and classification of large data sets, whether sifting through thousands of pages of PDFs or tagging social media posts. Thousands of volunteers contribute through the platform to help reporting, public interest, and transparency projects they’re passionate about.
With the COVID-19 crisis, the team behind the platform is working to shift Assignments to help rapidly scale up national surveys related to key policy issues, such as comparing various policies on social distancing or the definitions of essential businesses. In addition to refining the technology, the project will host a regular series of video and chat discussions to help newsrooms, advocates, researchers, and other groups share their data and document wish lists which the project will then pursue.
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