What is the idea behind CoVis and how did it come about?

CoVis was created with the intent to make important biomedical laboratory research on coronavirus infection and COVID-19 disease more discoverable. The collection is not meant to be exhaustive, but to offer a single reference point for definitive research in eight key areas: immunity, vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, viral biology, host biology and clinical findings and epidemiology. After careful review and discussion with our users, we added an additional area, introduction to coronavirus research, which includes foundational papers in coronavirus research to those who have no prior background. Selected articles within each category have been included based on the collective review of our editorial team.

One goal of CoVis is to accelerate the research and knowledge of researchers without prior experience in this field. However, we believe that careful, open curation makes this a resource even for experienced researchers in this dynamic time. New content and categories can be proposed for CoVis. For more information please view our contact page.

How do you decide what is included in the knowledge map?

The articles, datasets and ReFigures in CoVis are curated by an editorial team led by immunologists and ReFigure founders Dr. Girija Goyal and Dr. James Akin. Resources are nominated based on the interest of the individual contributor and posed for inclusion along with the rationale for inclusion. The nominated resources are discussed by curators as to their exhibited impact, or potential impact for moving the field forward.

How can I contribute to CoVis?

Please view our contact page.

Who is behind CoVis?

CoVis is a collaboration project of Open Knowledge Maps and ReFigure.

Open Knowledge Maps is a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the visibility of scientific knowledge for science and society. As part of its mission, Open Knowledge Maps operates the world’s largest visual search engine for research, which enables a diverse set of audiences to explore, discover and make use of scientific content. In addition, Open Knowledge Maps carries out training events to improve literature search skills, and it enables broad community participation through its support and engagement programs.

ReFigure is the flagship platform created by Scimpact, LLC, a social-impact startup with the mission to re-imagine the way scientific results are communicated. With a growing community of users, ReFigure makes research results more interactive to scientists of all training levels. ReFigure has demonstrated impact across scientific disciplines to encourage critical review, comparison and curation of scientific results through its novel, web-native platform.

What is a knowledge map?

Screenshot Knowledge Map on COVID-19 research Screenshot: Knowledge Map on COVID-19 research

Knowledge maps provide an instant overview of a topic by showing the main areas at a glance, and resources related to each area annotated with keywords, comments and tags. This makes it possible to easily identify useful, pertinent information.

Research areas are displayed as bubbles. By clicking on one of the bubbles, you can inspect the resources assigned to it. The size of the bubbles is relative to the number of resources assigned to it. Closeness of bubbles implies subject similarity. The closer two bubbles, the closer they are subject-wise. Centrality of bubbles implies subject similarity with the rest of the map, not importance. The closer a bubble is to the center, the closer it is subject-wise to all the other bubbles in the map.

The knowledge map is based on the award-winning open source software Head Start developed by Open Knowledge Maps. Head Start is capable of creating knowledge maps from a variety of data, including text, metadata and references. The visual interface allows the user to explore a large amount of resources with ease on a single page; those that are open access can be downloaded directly from the interface. If you have any questions please get in touch with team Open Knowledge Maps at

What is a ReFigure?

Screenshot Example of a ReFigure Screenshot: Example of a ReFigure

A ReFigure is a user-generated collection of figures from different scientific publications. They may be created to address a specific hypothesis, or might be a collection of results that are tied together by a single element (e.g. SARS-CoV-2 pre-clinical models, or validated anti-spike protein antibody clones). ReFigure is free to use and ReFigures can be created by anyone. If you would like to create a ReFigure and/or have it featured in CoVis please reach out.

Can I reuse CoVis?

Yes. CoVis is an open infrastructure following the principles of open science and can therefore be fully reused. Unless otherwise noted, all content on CoVis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The CoVis database is made available under CC0 (Public Domain Dedication). Our software is open source and hosted on Github.

Can I create my own CoVis for another research topic?

CoVis is only available for COVID-19 research for now. But you can automatically create knowledge maps for any research topic on These knowledge maps are based on 150 mio. documents from any discipline.

How is CoVis funded?

This project has received funding from the EOSC Secretariat as part of the "COVID-19 Fast Track Funding".

Please get in touch at, if you are interested in funding CoVis or similar projects.

I have a question that is not listed here

We'd love to hear from you! Please get in touch at

We invite you to contribute to CoVis

If you are a subject-matter expert and want to support us in curating the knowledge map, we are looking forward to hearing from you.

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