At this time of global crisis, scientific papers have never been more important, as they provide the most objective and accurate information that currently exists about COVID-19.
However, from the moment a new paper is uploaded, it will take a variety of paths, like a game of telephone, before it reaches the general public. Whichever path is taken, the original message can be lost before it reaches the public. Fake news is not only damaging on an individual level, but also on a worldwide level.
Yet, scientific papers are not perfect. A lot of research out there is unreliable and the results are unreplicable for other researchers. This is especially dangerous at a time like this when many people are trying to find reliable answers to the most pressing questions about the pandemic.
We need a better way to filter out the noise.
Our solution? Simplify the science. The best science.
Welcome to CoroKNOW...
What is CoroKNOW?
CoroKNOW is a crowd-sourced peer-reviewed platform for informing people about the latest pandemics.
With CoroKNOW, everyone can access simplified summaries on the latest COVID-19-related research papers, especially those that are gaining the most traction in the world. These papers are explained and evaluated based on their strengths and weaknesses by those in the scientific world. What’s more, users can create discussion about the paper, and have their questions answered by professionals.
Cutting through the noise, getting to the facts. And promoting discussion along the way...
We have split the website into 2 overall sections:
1. Research section:
Trending research papers (e.g. most cited, or influencing governmental decisions) are uploaded to the CoroKNOW platform. Professionals within the scientific community who use the platform are able to summarise these papers, rate them, and provide their opinions. Professionals can rate the paper based on credibility (considering a range of factors such as sample size), and provide their opinion on the strengths and limitations as comments, of which the most up-voted ones appear at the top. By the law of numbers, the more ratings from researchers, the better the measure of credibility of the paper.
This way, everyone can gain direct access to these summaries and discussions of the best coronavirus research articles.
2. Forum section:
This section is organised like a Stack Exchange forum all about COVID-19. Here, the general public can ask questions which are answered by researchers. The questions can be filtered using tags, up/downvoted and sorted by date and popularity. The most popular questions are found at the top of the sidebar. Underneath are some tips to help users stay safe during the pandemic. The tips would come from WHO or other well respected sources.
Address the concern. Create lasting impact
What's next for CoroKNOW? Our Route to Market Strategy...
Currently, CoroKNOW requires research papers to be uploaded manually to the platform. In the future, we plan to use an algorithm that queries and retrieves important and relevant papers from large databases of papers relevant to COVID-19 such as CORD-19 and LitCOVID. The algorithm would sort papers based on reaching threshold values such as the h-index, which is a measure of productivity and citation impact.
Our next steps would be to build the website (and an app version), with additional features such as podcasts and a government advice page, along with the methods for researchers to provide direct annotations on the research papers to explain the facts more efficiently. Quizzes at the end of each research paper page would be a useful feature to check on the public's understanding of the paper, and gamify the learning. We will use feedback from the public and researchers alike to improve the platform.
We envisage researchers who are developing treatments and cures for pandemics to also use CoroKNOW as a way to access all important research papers, commented by other specialists. It may be able to save researchers time by allowing them to skip through papers which were deemed untrustworthy or unreliable by their colleagues.
We see CoroKNOW as a platform that can cater for any future pandemics, and other worldwide scientific issues.
How we built it
We used Figma to collaboratively design the interactive UI/UX wireframes that you can see in our video. Over the last few days, we have held a series of team calls via Skype. We have had discussions with full-stack engineers and UI/UX designers who have encouraged our idea and showed us how we could transition from its current state to a fully-functioning platform. We have received feedback on our project from Datavant volunteers via Slack, and integrated it into our platform. We used iMovie to create our video.
Challenges we ran into
Despite our limited coding experience, made even more challenging by the time limit of this hackathon, we managed to make an aesthetic and practical design for our CoroKNOW platform. We chose Figma to produce a prototype, which allowed us to overcome these challenges. Figma also allows us to export these wireframes into HTML5 with CSS modules which will allow us to further develop the prototype, even after the hackathon through integrations with AWS.
It was also difficult to figure out how to balance between simplifying article content yet keeping the rigour of the information. Another challenge was that of finding the best way to quantify the credibility of a paper as a single rating.
What we learned
The steps of innovation
How to design websites
Importance of multidisciplinary collaboration and teamwork