News & Articles

Geoffrey Boulton: 'Science in a Data-Intensive Age'

In support of his candidacy as CODATA President, Geoffrey Boulton presents his vision of 'Science in a Data-Intensive Age' and describes the challenges and agenda this sets for CODATA.

Geoffrey Boulton

The last two decades have seen unprecedented growth in the capacity to acquire, store, manipulate and instantaneously transmit data. It is a world historical event that is changing the lives of individuals, societies and economies. It has major implications for science, research and learning that are far more profound and pervasive than those of the earlier, analogous revolution in data storage and human communication, that of Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in the 1430s.

These developments offer profound challenges to science, and because of this to CODATA in adapting its historic role as the principal coordinator of data initiatives at the international level to focus on new, data-intensive ways of doing science.

Read more...!  The statement is available as a PDF and on the CODATA blog.

CODATA Elections, Candidates' Statements, Part Two

In advance of the forthcoming CODATA Elections to positions on the Executive Committee, candidates have been invited to submit supporting statements and these are being posted on the CODATA blog.  Three further supporting statements are now available:

CODATA Elections, Candidates' Statements

In advance of the forthcoming CODATA Elections to positions on the Executive Committee, candidates have been invited to submit supporting statements and these are being posted on the CODATA blog.  Four supporting statements are now available:

2014 CODATA Task Group Proposals for Consideration at the General Assembly

Task Groups have been established to support CODATA’s overall mission to strengthen international science for the benefit of society by promoting improved scientific and technical data management and use. More specifically, Task Groups must remain relevant in a fast changing environment and contribute to the realisation of CODATA’s strategic objectives and activities, as articulated in the CODATA Strategic Plan, 2013-18.

It should be noted, furthermore, that the TG on Fundamental Physical Constants, an important and longstanding activity, has in accordance with the recommendations of the ICSU Review of CODATA been established as a ‘standing committee’.

A total of fourteen proposals were received. The proposals are included in the zipped file here and the recommendations of the CODATA Executive Committee are available here.

‘The power to establish Task Groups is vested in the General Assembly’ and the vote to approve or not the creation or continuation of the proposed Task Group will be taken at the CODATA General Assembly in New Delhi, 6-7 November 2014. The Executive Committee hopes that delegates to the General Assembly will consider its recommendations attentively.

CODATA Prize 2014 awarded to Professor Sydney Hall

Professor Sydney R. Hall, now Emeritus Professor at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia, through life-long leadership has resoundingly produced outstanding achievements in the world of scientific and technical data. His efforts have reached beyond crystallographic data and into many other science disciplines. He devised a universal self-defining text archive and retrieval (STAR) file format that evolved into the Crystallographic Information Framework (CIF), a momentous contribution in the area of data characterisation, and well known to structural chemists and biologists in particular as both a data and publications standard.  It enables data validation for articles published by IUCr journals, an approach pioneered by Professor Hall in his role during the 1990s as Editor of Acta Crystallographica Section C: Crystal Structure Communications. The CIF standard has been adopted by journals publishing crystal structure results. It also forms the essential core for data in prominent databases such as the Cambridge Structural Database (> half a million entries, growing by more than 40,000 each year) and the Protein Data Bank (>100,000 entries, growing by ~ 10,000 per year). These databases are widely used by researchers from many science disciplines. In addition, the STAR File approach is being applied to such diverse applications as botanical taxonomy, quantum chemistry, chemical informatics and biographical databases.

Sydney Hall will receive the Prize at SciDataCon 2014, the International Conference on Data Sharing and Integration for Global Sustainability, in New Delhi, 2-5 November 2014.  This is the continuation of the CODATA Conference series, now co-organised with CODATA’s sister organisation, the ICSU World Data System.

John R Helliwell and Brian McMahon, IUCr

The CODATA Prize a major biennial award which acknowledges outstanding achievement in the world of scientific and technical data.  The work of Professor Sydney Hall certainly meets these criteria and the CODATA Prize Committee is very pleased to recognise his outstanding contribution.  It is particularly fitting that a crystallographer should be so recognised during the International Year of Crystallography.  Professor Hall will attend SciDataCon 2014 where the prize will be awarded.


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