OBJECTIVES: As the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic developed there was a paucity of data relevant to people living with rheumatic disease. This led to the development of a global, online registry to meet these information needs. This manuscript provides a detailed description of the coronavirus disease 2019 Global Rheumatology Alliance registry development, governance structure, and data collection, and insights into new ways of rapidly establishing global research collaborations to meet urgent research needs. METHODS: We use previously published recommendations for best practices for registry implementation and describe the development of the Global Rheumatology Alliance registry in terms of these steps. We identify how and why these steps were adapted or modified. In Phase 1 of registry development, the purpose of the registry and key stakeholders were identified on online platforms, Twitter and Slack. Phase 2 consisted of protocol and data collection form development, team building and the implementation of governance and policies. RESULTS: All key steps of the registry development best practices framework were met, though with the need for adaptation in some areas. Outputs of the registry, two months after initial conception, are also described. CONCLUSION: The Global Rheumatology Alliance registry will provide highly useful, timely data to inform clinical care and identify further research priorities for people with rheumatic disease with coronavirus disease 2019. The formation of an international team, easily able to function in online environments and resulting in rapid deployment of a registry is a model that can be adapted for other disease states and future global collaborations.