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New evidence database provides one-stop-shop for quality evidence on the effects of the pandemic on children

(FLORENCE, 9 NOV 2020) The UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti has produced the Children and COVID-19 Research Library to highlight the available global scientific research and evidence on children and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Children and COVID-19 Library is a searchable database of research from the most reputable sources around the world on the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on children and adolescents. It is one of the most advanced publicly accessible databases of research on COVID-19 and children available.

The repository builds on UNICEF Innocenti’s existing COVID-19 rapid response microsite, which provides updates on our rapid research agenda, related publications, blogs, expert webinars and other scientific resources, to include research from a variety of other reputable sources around the world and from across UNICEF on children and the coronavirus pandemic.

Cutting through the noise

Conceived as UNICEF’s contribution to enabling quick and easy access to scientific knowledge on COVID-19, the database is a one-stop-shop to find the latest quality evidence on the effects of the pandemic on children.

Priscilla Idele, Deputy Director of UNICEF Innocenti, recognized a need for a database of this nature to fill gaps where there were previously no reliable, easy-to-find resources on the topic. “In the past 10 months, major global databases have been flooded with research articles, commentaries, letters, reviews, and editorials related to COVID-19…This has led to what is now described as an ‘infodemic’, or information overload ... and as facts, rumors, and fears mix and disperse, it becomes difficult to discern reliable information from unsubstantiated outputs,” Idele said.

According to one estimate, more than 23,000 papers were published on COVID-19 between January and April, and this number was doubling every 20 days. If the same trend continues, there will be about 50 million COVID-19 papers by the end of 2020.

“Given this scenario, I saw a need for a curated database or repository that brings together a set of reliable papers specifically on COVID-19, children and adolescents, and in a timely and organized way. This is important as people don’t have time to read through entire articles and figure out what is reliable and what is not, and we needed a way to cut through the noise. There was a clear need to curate reliable evidence on COVID-19 and children not only to inform UNICEF’s programmes, policy and advocacy efforts, but also as a public good for other partners looking for similar information.”

“As the research centre for UNICEF, whose mission is to advocate for and position children’s issues in the global development agenda, UNICEF Innocenti is well placed to host this resource, having established a reputation in high quality research and products, as well as expertise in curating the most reliable evidence to inform UNICEF’s agenda around COVID-19 and children,” said Idele. 

 

Looking at the other impacts of COVID-19

The exponential increases in disease transmission across the world has been matched by an exponential growth in research and evidence generation to understand its transmission patterns, detection and treatment strategies, prevention and control, as well as, its health and socio-economic impacts and relevant mitigation responses. Given the vast number of excellent biomedical research repositories on COVID-19, UNICEF Innocenti’s Children and COVID-19 Library aims to fill in knowledge gaps on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on children, with research drawn largely from the social science literature.

Key topics of the database include child poverty, education, mental health, social protection and child well-being. The database is searchable by title, journal and author and allows users to filter by topic, type of research, country, language, institution, journal title, keywords and date range.

”With reliable evidence and information already curated and quality assured, users of the Library are able to quickly search for relevant topics to inform their needs. With this in mind, we hope that the platform will become a go-to place for evidence on COVID-19 and children for many users globally,” said Idele.