Minister of Science Praises ZPID Engagement in Corona Pandemic

In a video conference, the Rhineland-Palatinate Minister of Science, Prof. Dr. Konrad Wolf, has learned about the current projects of ZPID - Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information in the Corona Crisis.

The Minister of Science emphasized that ZPID is an important institute beyond Germany's borders in the field of not university-based scientific infrastructure. It provides indispensable services for research in the field of psychology, but also for psychological practice in the entire German-speaking world. As an institute of the renowned Leibniz Association, it is subject to regular evaluations which impressively confirm its performance.

 "Its special importance is also evident in the light of the corona pandemic, in which ZPID is involved in advising the Federal Government and supporting the World Health Organization," said Minister of Science Wolf. "The federal and state governments see great potential in the research carried out at ZPID and are determined to expand it further. It is planned to increase institutional funding by approximately 30 percent by 2022."

"In the pandemic situation, ZPID was able to make a decisive contribution to ensuring the supply of information in psychology," reported ZPID director Prof. Dr. Michael Bosnjak at the meeting. "Our digital services are freely accessible, such as the PubPsych search portal or the digital repository PsychArchives. This is an advantage in times of closed libraries." 

In addition, ZPID has participated in research on the psychological situation in Germany, in the so-called COSMO project (COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring). Every week, 1,000 people are interviewed on what they know about the coronavirus, whether they know about and follow protective measures, and what kind of stress they are exposed to — for example, through isolation or lack of childcare.

According to the ZPID director, the project, launched during the first week of March 2020, has attracted much international attention. The German COSMO project is now recommended by the World Health Organization as a template for recording the psychological situation in other countries and has already been replicated internationally on several occasions. 

In addition to the University of Erfurt, which is in charge of the concept, the Robert Koch Institute, the Federal Centre for Health Education, the Science Media Center, the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, and the Yale Institute for Global Health are involved.

"Due to its strategic focus on open digital services, ZPID was able to react very quickly to the emerging needs. In addition to the COSMO project, we very quickly provided a wide range of services, such as prestructured database searches on pandemic topics and a database to map all measures implemented in Germany. Such databases of historical events provide important information on whether and to what extent psychological research could be distorted during the 'lockdown'," said Bosnjak.

The institute's video conference was also attended by Sven Teuber, SPD member of the Rhineland-Palatinate's state parliament, who invited Minister of Science Wolf to pay ZPID a virtual visit. Teuber said: "Science is the dispute about the directions to be taken and new findings necessary to achieve progress. Presenting scientific results in black and white, on the other hand, is cheap and inflammable. Scientists need the certainty that research is free and that they can work without fear for the benefit of our common good. Otherwise, we endanger them and all our development. I am grateful that with ZPID we have such an important and world-renowned player in research."

The ZPID - Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information in Trier is one of four Leibniz Institutes in Rhineland-Palatinate. It provides support for everyone who is looking for psychological information (scientists, practicing psychologists, the interested public), for instance, studies on treatment/therapy or patient guides. ZPID is committed to open science. Therefore, its services are available free of charge.