Open Access to COVID-19 and related research

The current crisis around the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shows the importance of unfettered access to scientific and scholarly information, for researchers, professors, students, journalists and non academic professionals alike.

Here we provide an overview of what is currently being done to realise that ease of access, on top of regular open access activities. This page will be updated but does not aim at comprehensiveness.

Below, there are three sections:

Tips to make your papers and research results openly available

To confront this crisis, or even to just deal with it, fast and reliable access to research is crucial for researchers, policy makers, practitioners and the public at large. A substantial amount of the literature is already open access and publishers are making some of the COVID-19 related papers free to read, though these initiatives are often limited to the duration of the crisis, and limited to biomedical literature.

We can do more to make research results openly available quickly and reliably. The goal is to make research open access as fast as possible, and permanently, aligning with Dutch universities’ open science aims and policies. Open access publishing is already possible in fully open access journals or in subscription journals that are part of the Dutch so-called read & publish deals.

Additional possibilities that show their value in the current crisis:

Making articles and chapters open access retrospectively: “You share, we take care”

With your stated permission, the university library can make your articles and book chapters open access on your behalf. This applies for publication over 6 months old, with the publications being archived in your institutional repository. Especially for older papers in the fields of e.g. virology, epidemiology, infections, public health, crisis management, mass communication and psychology etc., this is an important route to make use of now.


Note: the exact practicalities and arrangement differ between institutions. 

Please visit the "You share, we take care" page to learn more about this option.

Sharing early versions of papers: prepints

Sharing early versions of papers, chapters, often before peer review and even before submission to journals or publishers is possible via preprint servers, increasingly acceptable in most fields and accepted by most journals for later publication. Some reliable and currently very relevant preprint archives are bioRxiv (life sciences), medRxiv (medical), PsyArxiv (behavioural sciences), SocArXiv (social sciences), ArXiv (o.a. physics, mathematics, computer science) and Open Science Framework (OSF) preprints or Zenodo (the latter two are multidisciplinary archives). 

Making research data and code available for collaboration, reuse and verification

You can make your data and code available for reuse (see e.g. the Decision aid data repositories by Utrecht University and the Publish your Data toolkit by TU Delft).

Tips for finding open research information on COVID-19 related topics

There are various freely accessible collections and corpora that bring together COVID-19 related research information to search manually of mine using text and data mining techniques. A few examples:

[publication numbers as of 20200406]


  • selection of publications in PubMed since January 2020
  • searching, full-text access (partly), metadata download
  • 3011 publications

Dimensions COVID-19

  • selection of publications in Dimensions, including datasets and clinical trials
  • searching, full-text access (partly), metadata download
  • 6659 publications, including preprints

1Science Coronavirus Research Repository

  • selection of publications in 1Science, including SSRN preprints (not limited to Elsevier publications)
  • searching, full-text access (partly)
  • 37.679 publications

bioRxiv / medRxiv COVID19

  • preprints from bioRxiv & medRxiv
  • searching, full-text access
  • 1184 publications

CORD-19 dataset (for TDM)

  • publications from WHO corpus, PubMed Central, bioRiv/medRxiv and publishers
  • full-text download, metadata download
  • 36K publications (full text), 47K publication (metadata) 

Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID)

CoronaWhy: Fighting Coronavirus with Artificial Intelligence: bottom-up initiative to collect data on Corona virus

OpenAIRE on COVID-19

Additionally, a number of publishers are making some of their publications (temporarily) free to read (see e.g. overviews by Wellcome Trust and by the Science Technology, Medicine Association). These publishers' actions follow the calls by research institutions (e.g. International Coalition of Library Consortia) and funding organizations. Publications that are made free to read this way are findable using your regular scholarly search engines.

Dutch universities and other research institutes

Many (libraries of) Dutch universities and other research institutes provide webpages listing resources on COVID-19 and the pandemic. These often also include resources licensed only to that specific institution. Some examples:


Tips on how to add to and curate COVID-19 research information

Next to openly sharing your own research results relevant for the current crisis, there are also other ways to contribute to fast and reliable information related to COVID-19, the pandemic and the resulting crisis. Here we list a few projects and initiatives that researchers and others can contribute to:

Outbreak science - PREreview

  • providing fast and journal independent peer review of COVID-19, epidemic and related papers shared as preprint

WikiData: WikiProject COVID-19

  • collate and curate informatie relating to COVID-19 in WikiData


  • text- and data mining of  scholarly publications on virus outbreaks, especially that of COVID-19 (see open notebook)

CORD-19 Dataset Research Challenge - Kaggle

  • Developing AI applications for text- and data mining of scholarly articles related to COVID-19

Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN)

  • The VODAN is a public-private partnership focussing on FAIR sharing issues around COVID-19 research data



Please contact your own university library if you have any questions or suggestions.

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Dutch National website providing information for academics about the advantages of open access to publicly financed research

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