CoViD19 Preponderance Project

The CoViD19 Preponderance Project (CPP) was launched to engage credentialed scientists* in a crowdsourcing operation to sort, parse, and organize the world’s vast body of literature on CoViD19 science. The process was designed to:
① Decipher publicly accessible “preponderance of evidence” patterns from a complex literature in some new ways,
② Link individual bits of empirical evidence to essential questions of public health strategy, and
③ Make the process easy for scientists (such as you?) to participate.

When you read a paper that presents the results of scientific research on CoViD19, you can help us characterize that paper, and link its contribution to broader patterns of evidence, just by submitting your assessments through a simple form on this site. By working together at the level of individual papers, we can uncover broad patterns of discovery that indicate the preponderance of evidence in powerful new ways that have been historically difficult for the press and public to understand. We can also allow people of goodwill easily to trace those patterns of conclusion back to individual studies (and sorted groups of studies).

Why bother? Significant fractions of society disagree about fundamental lessons from the CoViD19 pandemic. Those cohorts are made up of people who deserve consideration, and they are big enough to impact public health policy for everyone. What’s more, their disagreements (our disagreements!) derive from facts that we can theoretically just dig up and double check, so they should be resolvable by sensible, rational adjudication in a high-functioning marketplace of ideas. We believe the CPP can organize scientific voices in a way that advances coherent adjudication and boosts clarity among smart people of goodwill.

How is the CPP project different? Other projects have polled scientists to ascertain the “popularity” of certain CoViD19 conclusions among selected invitees, assuredly to sort scientific fact from fiction. That work is interesting, but a neater summary of scientific opinions may not be enough to move doubters who already wrestle with trust issues. Where’s the beef? The CPP connects global patterns of scientific judgment directly to the actual studies and data that would allow smart people to scrutinize the facts for themselves — to explore the contours of scientific consensus, and dive into the studies that give them shape. In the CoViD19 Preponderance Project, the ultimate units of information are the actual scientific publications — individually, and in coherent patterns that connect dots.

Smart people might be forgiven for confusing the preponderance of evidence on complex topics in a big body of literature, because we’ve failed to parse that literature in a coherent, transparent manner. Until now.

*There are three ways to jump in. Ⓐ If you are a member of any participating scientific society that has partnered with CPP, that membership is your credential to weigh in as a scientist on this site. Ⓑ If you’re not a member of any participating society, but you are sponsored/invited by such a member, you may also participate as a scientist (great for collaborators, grad students, labmates, etc.). Ⓒ If none of those credentials apply to you, you may still participate in the “general public” pool until you fulfill a criterion from Ⓐ or Ⓑ (which you can do at any time down the road, if you choose).

Juice up your lab meetings. When you pull up a paper to review, it’s easy to invite others to join your “reading group” for that paper. That invitation opens up small group discussion features, and it adds invitees into the sponsored “scientists” circle.

What lessons should we take away from the most deadly pandemic of the century? How can we discern a preponderance of evidence on key topics, and sort outlier observations from meaningful patterns? How can we organize the vast CoViD19 literature to help our friends and neighbors see those patterns, and suss evidence for important scientific claims?

This sort of global collaboration to organize the literature has never been attempted, but a better excuse there has never been…