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Participate in the Center for Health Security’s infectious disease prediction project

Collective intelligence from crowdsourced forecast data will provide health sector leaders with new, actionable information to guide decision making about preparedness and response policies and interventions

By Nick Alexopulos | Jan. 28, 2019

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security are challenging the crowd to make predictions about future outbreaks and other related events for a project that will provide public health leaders with forecasting data to help inform their decisions on preparedness and response policies and interventions.

The Collective Intelligence for Disease Prediction project launched in January 2019 and was announced broadly by ProMED. It runs through the end of the year.

Registration is now closed*

Participation is open to public health experts, doctors, epidemiologists, modelers, risk experts, vector control officials, individuals with on-the-ground understanding of conditions surrounding disease outbreaks, and others who are interested in outbreaks.

“We are excited to launch this new project to gather the wisdom of the crowd—a crowd of experts passionate about public health—in a new and interactive way that we are confident will help guide policymakers in their work to protect communities from serious diseases,” said Tara Kirk Sell, PhD, senior scholar at the Center.

Sell and Senior Scholar Crystal Watson, DrPH, are leading the project team.

Throughout the project, the Center will analyze forecasting data from participants and share key insights with health sector stakeholders to supplement traditional surveillance and modeling efforts. The project team’s long-term goal is to develop a prediction tool that will provide useful, real-time predictive information to health security leaders responsible for preparing for, preventing, and responding to emerging infectious diseases and epidemics. All data collected will be used for research purposes and in ways that will not reveal any individually identifiable information.

Participants who make accurate predictions and update their forecasts consistently may become eligible for a prize. The system—built on Lumenogic’s Prescience platform—records each participant’s latest forecast on every question. When a question is resolved, the system computes the accuracy of each participant’s forecasts on that question, then compares it to the median accuracy of other participants.

A live leaderboard is accessible to anyone registered for the project through the platform online, where more information on purpose, methods, scoring, and prizes is also available.

The project is supported by funding from the Open Philanthropy Project.

About the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security:
The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security works to protect people from epidemics and disasters and build resilient communities through innovative scholarship, engagement, and research that strengthens the organizations, systems, policies, and programs essential to preventing and responding to public health crises. The Center is part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is located in Baltimore, MD.

About Prescience:
Crowd-forecasting platforms such as Prescience consolidate the informed guesswork of many into hard probabilities. The name «Prescience» means «foresight», and our goal, with your help, is to generate forecasts of future events that are as accurate as possible. Lumenogic has developed and operated Prescience and other crowd-forecasting platforms for governments, corporate clients and the general public since 2000.

About ProMED:
ProMED - the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases - is an Internet-based reporting system, open to all sources, dedicated to rapid global dissemination of information on outbreaks of infectious diseases and acute exposures to toxins that affect human health, including those in animals and in plants grown for food or animal feed. Electronic communications enable ProMED to provide up-to-date and reliable news about threats to human, animal, and food plant health around the world, seven days a week.


*Editor’s Note 11/5/21: This project has ended, registration is now closed.



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