Collective Diary

The IST Austria (Institute of Science and Technology Austria) invites you to contribute to a collective diary on how our social contact networks change in times of Corona.
What is CoKoNet?

CoKoNet is an initiative of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) located in Klosterneuburg, Austria, with the aim of generating a “collective diary” about how our social behavior is changing in response to the Corona crisis. Throughout this citizen science project, we will collect data in a compact and anonymous online survey. The analyzed data shall help us understand the impact of the restrictions in the wake of the Corona crisis on our personal behavior as well as on our communal social interaction network.

The survey is being conducted by IST Austria, and collected data will be analyzed—of course anonymously!—as part of our PhD program. Regular survey participants will receive their personal diary in the form of graphs and charts. The aggregated data will be used by IST Austria within its Science Communication & Education program in school workshops around the topic of big data analysis, in public lectures and will be shared with the interested public through innovative formats of science communication and education.

Why CoKoNet?

These days, we find ourselves in an extraordinary situation: Countries all around the world are trying hard to contain the transmission of the disease COVID-19—caused by the new Corona virus SARS-CoV-2—through medical aid as well as by utilizing our collective “behavioral immune system”. We all know that personal hygiene is essential to protect ourselves and others. On top of that, however, we are now experiencing that, through our social behavior, we can also build an immune system on a societal level. By adhering to “social distancing”—or better: “distant socializing”—we are thus also contributing to contain the epidemic.

All around the world, a lot of data are already being collected—why collect even more? As an interdisciplinary basic research institute, we want to provide our scientific expertise to collect data from members of our society in a transparent and standardized manner, to analyze them on a high-quality statistical level and to share them with the public. It is only through the generation of comprehensive knowledge that we can learn from the current situation and cope with similar potential challenges in the future. By your participation, you are contributing to the generation of a collective diary, which will help better understand the impact of the current restrictions that we are experiencing in the wake of the corona crisis on our communal social network.

What data do we collect?

Through short, partly regular online surveys, we are collecting data about how our social behavior during the Corona crisis is changing various aspects of our private and professional everyday lives. Which personal contacts can we, do we want to (or do we have to) replace by virtual connections due to the current restrictions? How does the reduced ability to meet with others influence our daily routines, our work life and our leisure time activities? Which problems, but also: which new perspectives, arise from this for us personally as well as for our community?

Important: We will not collect any special categories of personal data (such as health data)! The data are being collected in a password-protected environment completely separated from names or e-mail contacts of the participants via online surveys, analyzed in an anonymous manner, and they will be published in an aggregated way, i.e., such that it is impossible to deduce the answers of single participants. To learn more, please refer to our data protection regulation.

How can I participate?

Everyone from 14 years of age can take part in CoKoNet – there is no upper age limit!

And this is how it works:

  1. Please register here with a valid e-mail address and by agreeing to our data protection declaration. You will then receive a link to confirm your registration („IST Austria Subscription Confirmation“). In a separate e-mail, you will then receive the link to the first online survey where you will be asked to create a personal password,  which should not reveal your identity or email and will serve as your login to the surveys and diary entries. Upon entering this password, the “Getting started survey” (time requirement: ca. 3 min; to be filled out once) will open.
    Please note: It may take some time until you receive the registration e-mail as well as the invitation to the first survey (up to one hour)—thank you for your patience! Please also make sure to check your spam folder.
  1. In the subsequent “Before/after survey” we are trying to find out if and how the restrictions in place since mid-March 2020 have impacted your social network so far (time requirement: ca. 5-8 min; to be filled out once).
  1. After this kick-off, we will finally ask you to contribute to our collective diary, which is supposed to reflect the ongoing changes in our lives in this extraordinary situation. To contribute, please fill in our regular “Diary survey” (time requirement: ca. 4-5 min). Ideally, you should fill in this survey every third or fourth day, or at least once a week. To do so, you can use the same link you received in the first invitation to the “Diary survey”. A weekly e-mail reminder will help you to remember following up on your diary entries.
  1. Each participant filling in the diary at least once a week will have the chance to access (using the personal password) his or her personal diary in the form of tables and graphs, which we are going to provide from time to time throughout the duration of the study. At the end of the study, we plan to present aggregated data in the form of a collective diary as part of IST Austria’s Science Communication & Education program.

In case of questions or if you no longer want to participate in the study please contact the Science Communication und Education Team of IST Austria via cokonet@ist.ac.at

Q&A

Note on the browser
In case you get an error report upon entering your password (e.g., “This is a required field.”), please delete your browser history and cache and then try again.

“Am I supposed to indicate that I am working/in training even when I make a diary entry on a holiday or on the weekend?”
A: Yes! The indication of your professional/training status refers to your general status of employment/education and is irrespective of whether you are working/studying that very day of your diary entry. Thus, if you do have a job/are in training, please ALWAYS fill in the complete questionnaire.