CODATA Data Science Journal: Revised Focus and Scope

Date: Jun 11, 2019

The DSJ editorial board has revised the focus and scope of the journal. It is not a big change, but rather one of clarification in a changing world. We primarily want to specify our definition of 'data science' as the classic sense of the science of data practices that advance human understanding and knowledge — the evidence-based study of the socio-technical developments and transformations that affect science policy; the conduct and methods of research; and the data systems, standards, and infrastructure that are integral to research. 

We recognize the contemporary emphasis on data science, which is more concerned with data analytics, statistics, and inference. We embrace this new definition but seek papers that focus specifically on the data concerns of an application in analytics, machine learning, cybersecurity or what have you. We continue to seek papers addressing data stewardship, representation, re-use, policy, education etc.

Most importantly, we seek broad lessons on the science of data. Contributors should generalize the significance of their contribution and demonstrate how their work has wide significance or application beyond their core study. 

We look forward to hearing from you. 

Mark A. Parsons on behalf of the Editorial Board


China GEO-CODATA LODGD supports New Year Flood Impact in Honiara

Date: Jun 10, 2019


From the 27th December 2018 the Solomon Islands experienced two weeks of intense rainfall due to the rapid succession of three tropical storms.  Firstly, a tropical depression that later turned into Cyclone Mona crossed the country bringing heavy downpours and high winds. This was followed by another tropical depression that formed nearby and lingered over the Solomon’s due to being sandwiched between Cyclone Penny to the south and another system to the west. A weather station in Honiara/Henderson recorded a total of 350mm of rain during this period. These heavy downpours caused rivers to burst their banks and flash flooding to occur.

On the 6th January the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) reported that an estimated 23,708 people had been affected with homes and crops destroyed.  Flash flooding also contaminated drinking water. This damage was captured both on the ground and through satellite imagery produced by China GEO from the 25th January 2019.

Site Extent

Honiara is situated on the island of Guadalcanal, the largest in the Solomon Islands archipelago. It is volcanic in origin and ranges in topography from tall mountain ranges to low- lying coral atolls. The Guadalcanal Island has three main rivers the Mataniko, Lunga and Tenaru rivers. The China GEO supported satellite imagery from CGSTL was flown over the wider Honiara area, encapsulating all three rivers. The river of interest, the Lunga River and the site extent for analysis is shown in Figure 1.

Damage Scenario

Severe damage to both the natural and built environment occurred due to the continuous intense rainfall over the Honiara area in late December 2018 through to January 2019. The damage to the built environment, mostly consisting of family homes, was more concentrated compared to the damage to crop land and food gardens which was more widespread.  

A large amount of crop land was destroyed as a result of the constant inundation of water, which also caused hillsides to buckle as shown in Figure 2. Root crops and vegetables were destroyed meaning economic loss for majority of the island. Eighty five percent of the community are subsistence farmers therefore, the crops destroyed are their primary source of food. This means that crop damage causes not only an economic loss but a detrimental effect on community life and health through severe food shortages. The cocoa, cassava and fishing industries were also impacted by the flood waters.

Family homes were damaged due to the constant rain and inundation of water, which left many people homeless. The rain and associated wind caused roofs to collapse and landslides to occur. The landslides causing communities to be blocked off. More than 22,000 people had their homes or cropland destroyed. The majority of communities do not have proper water networks, therefore wells and streams are the main source of drinking water. The flooding caused contamination of water ways and increased the likelihood of mosquito-borne diseases and secondary impacts on the community such as diarrhoea.

The flooding also caused damage to infrastructure such as road networks and stopbanks. As seen in Figure 3, the force of the water ripped/bent the corrugated iron holding the rock mesh together. Damage to these key protection measures and roading networks can inhibit aid reaching affected areas and cause future inundation where resilient systems have been damaged.

Analysis of New Year Flood

Responding to requests from CODATA/LODGD, China GEO activated its Disaster Data Response (CDDR) Mechanism to provide high-resolution satellite imagery in support of disaster response planning. Analysis of the New Year Flood was undertaken using 2m resolution satellite provided by China GEO from the 25th January 2019.  The high resolution imagery was used to depict the extent of the flood water, which was indicative of the potential impacts for the surrounding community. The flooding extent was depicted from the satellite imagery using ArcGIS. To understand what the river and water extent was before the New Year’s flooding event, images from Google Earth were used. The comparison between the New Year Flood Extent and the river extent from the 7th January 2018 is shown in Figure 4. The imagery and river extent from the 7th January 2018 acts as a control for how the river is in its “normal” state, therefore the comparison allows for an understanding of the disaster event.

Discussion and Recommendations

High resolution satellite imagery is crucial data to have in response to a disaster. During the early stages of a disaster it is hard to understand the true extent of damage, due to complications in communications and logistics. Some communities can be completely cut off due to various reasons, therefore the earlier satellite imagery is retrieved and analysed, the quicker decisions can be made to reduce further impact.

There are issues around how open and freely available high resolution satellite imagery is after a disaster which can inhibit the response. Having open source, high resolution imagery shortly after a disaster can allow for rapid disaster mapping to occur. This analysis helps communicate where the areas of high risk and importance are to allow for the first responders to assess how they might assist those areas of greatest need and desperation.  A lack of satellite imagery after a disaster represents a lack of visualisation of the situation. A lack of visualisation means a poor understanding of the extent of the disaster and its consequences and therefore external help cannot be as effective in the attempt to send the relevant information or aid.

Rapid procurement of satellite imagery after a disaster is not only crucial for response but it can help for understanding future risk and impact. By visualising the extent of a disaster in the same place at different periods in time, alongside a control (the area in its natural state), trends for that particular area to a particular natural hazard can be understood. For example, Figure 4 shows the comparison between the river in its natural state (2018) and the river in a state of flooding (2019). It is notable that there are particular areas along the river that have burst their banks. If this data was then to be compared against the 2014 flood extent of the Lunga River, some trends may start to appear allowing for areas of vulnerability and future risk to be identified. Identifying these areas also leads to a better understanding of the impacts to the surrounding areas, therefore resilience measures can be put in place.

To ensure better response to future disasters, freely open and available high resolution satellite imagery is crucial. The resolution has to be high to capture the important and necessary features to inform the appropriate response. The imagery has to be freely available to allow for rapid disaster mapping to occur by external agencies, as during the early stages of response there can be other priorities for agencies on the ground. The imagery has to be taken as early as possible to gain a true understanding of the impact. For example, water retreat can occur rapidly, therefore the full extent of the disaster can be lost. Analysing satellite imagery after a disaster is the quickest way of understanding and visualising what has happened on the ground and can identify areas that could be of potential danger. It is crucial to have this information to reduce the impacts and devastation of a disaster.  

Image courtesy: China GEO & CGSTL

DEADLINE TOMORROW - CODATA International Training Workshop on Scientific Big Data and Machine Learning

Date: May 27, 2019

9-20 September 2019, Beijing, China

Deadline for Applications, 30 May 2019 
Further information and application form:
CODATA China and the Computer Network Information Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences are organizing an international training workshop on "Scientific Big Data and Machine Learning" in Beijing from 9-20 September 2019. Supported by CODATA, CODATA China has successfully held similar training workshops since 2012 and this is the 5th event in the series. The training course is funded by the Chinese Academy of Science and qualified applicants will receive full support for travel to Beijing as well as their subsistence and accommodation when at the workshop.

Participants in the Training Workshop will also attend the CODATA 2019 Beijing Conference: Towards next-generation data-driven science: policies, practices and platforms.  Applicants are encouraged also to submit a paper or poster for the conference.

The deadline for applications is 11:59 pm CST (UTC+8) on 30 May.
Due to advances in information technology, we are witnessing an explosion in digital data through all forms of human activity: much of this data can also contribute to the production of knowledge for all domains of enquiry and across domains, as well as providing essential information for decision-making in response to global challenges such as sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, climate change, the growth of cities, the maintenance of biodiversity etc., etc. In order to meet the many global challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities of the data revolution, it is imperative to develop global skills and capacity in the science of data.

The mission of CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Science Council, is to support the advancement of science as a global public good by promoting improved research data management and use, and by advancing data science and the enhanced exploitation of data in all areas of scientific research. Building data science capacity in countries with developing and emerging economies (in part through promoting technical training in data science, in data management and in the implications of the data revolution for science) is an important part of CODATA’s strategy.

The training program offered aims to engage participants with a number of facets of data science and data management in the age of the data revolution and Big Data. Topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Basic data science skills (e.g. Introduction to data infrastructures in CAS, data carpentry, data management plan)
  • Machine learning and data driven scientific discovery
  • Scientific data policies, good practices, norms, specifications and standards
  • Selected disciplinary scientific data stewardship exemplars (e.g. geoscience, biology, genomics, astronomy, etc)
A number of activities will be organized involving elite Chinese scientists, in order to promote knowledge sharing and to develop opportunities for future exchanges and collaboration. Participants will benefit also from visits to a number of leading research institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). During these visits, participants will have the opportunity to learn from the scientific approach, management expertise, knowledge development and practical application which characterize activities at CAS institutes working at the frontiers of research. Furthermore, the program will promote interaction and exchange of knowledge between experts and participants and among participants who will benefit greatly from exchanges with colleagues for a variety of academic and national backgrounds.
How to Apply: 
Apply at to complete the online form and to submit the necessary support documents.  The deadline is 23:59 CST (UTC+8) on 30 May.
You will be asked to complete an application form with personal information and to submit supporting document. Once you have created an account and entered the personal information you will need to click on [Submission] to access the page to upload your supporting document.
The supporting document should comprise your CV, a personal statement (of no more than one side) and references combined as a single PDF file (maximum volume 20MB).

The personal statement should describe your interests and why you want to do the Training Workshop.  You should answer these questions:
  1. What expertise and qualities would you bring as a participant?
  2. What specific topics would you like to cover and how will this help you?
  3. How would you hope to apply the experience gained from the course in your own country? 
Please consult Eligibility and Important Dates
Further information about the training programme and contact details is available on the Training Workshop Website

Call for Applications - CODATA RDA Data Steward School 2019 - Deadline 1 June 2019

Date: May 21, 2019

The CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Summer School provides training in the foundational skills of Research Data Science. Contemporary research – particularly when addressing the most significant, transdisciplinary research challenges – cannot be done effectively without a range of skills relating to data.

The school is held at the [International Centre for Theoretical Physics]( running from August 5-16. The venue, the Adriatico Guest House, is a delightful self-contained site, overlooking the sea,where there is accommodation, lecture halls, a terminal room and a canteen.


This year the school will be running a parallel strand that is oriented to students who are interested in Data Stewardship.

The curriculum for these students will be

  • Open Science
  • Introduction to Unix Shell
  • Programming for Analysis
  • Git
  • Research Data Management
  • Author Carpentry
  • Introduction to Information Security
  • Metadata & Persistent Identifiers
  • Data discovery and automated DMP’s
  • Repositories
  • Ontologies
  • Linked data

The first week of the school will be for both Early Career Reseachers (ECR’s) and Data Stewards. The seocnd week will break into two parallel strands, one focussing on Data Science techniques for ECR’s and the other for Data Stewards.

The provisional detailed programme can be found here with a breakdown of the shared and separate courses.

Graduate students or ECR’s considering a career in Data Stewardship and Early Career Data Stewards would benefit most from this school.

This school is a part of a planned series of CODATA-RDA schools that will run in Europe as part of the FAIRsFAIR initiative.

There is space for 5 students who wish to take the Data Steward strand. Students wishing to attend this strand will need to cover their accommodation and travel expenses to the school but there are no registration fees. Single rooms at the Adriatico start at €50 per night.

As this is a pilot students attending this strand will be interviewed afterwards to get feedback to improve the curriculum.

Candidates interested in attending should contact the director of the Data Steward strand, Hugh Shanahan before June 1.


Date: May 20, 2019

The Call for Presentations and Posters for CODATA 2019 Beijing: Towards next-generation data-driven science: policies, practices and platforms, 19-20 September has now been released.  Please submit proposals at by the deadline of 24 June.
Registration is also now open!  The Conference Website now has information for registration, accommodation and visa matters.  Make your arrangements as soon as possible.
CODATA 2019: Towards next-generation data-driven science: policies, practices and platforms
Science globally is being transformed by new digital technologies.  At the same time addressing the major global challenges of the age requires the analysis of vast quantities of heterogeneous data from multiple sources.  In response, many countries, regions and scientific domains have developed Research Infrastructures to assist with the management, stewardship and analysis.  These developments have been stimulated by Open Science policies and practices, both those developed by funders and those that have emerged from communities.  The FAIR principles and supporting practices seek to accelerate this process and unlock the potential of analysis at scale with machines.  This conference provides a significant opportunity to survey and examine these developments from a global perspective.
The conference themes and guidelines for proposals for presentations and posters may be consulted at
The conference will follow a high-level workshop, 17-18 September 2019, on ‘Implementing Open Research Data Policy and Practice’ that will examine such challenges in China and elsewhere in the light of the emergence of data policies and in particular the China State Council’s Notice on ‘Measures for Managing Scientific Data’.
Applications are also open for the CODATA China 2019 Training Workshop: Scientific Big Data and Machine Learning deadline 30 May.
We advise you to register, to make travel, accommodation and visa arrangements as soon as possible.
Practical information about the conference is available at

Registration is now open at - Please register as soon as possible!

We suggest you make your visa application as soon as possible.  Please find useful information at

The conference venue is the Friendship Hotel.  Please find useful information at  Again we suggest you make accommodation arrangements at the Friendship Hotel or nearby as soon as possible.

For any further assistance and information please consult the website and contact details

WDS Data Stewardship Award 2019: Call for Nominations Open!

Date: May 10, 2019

The Call for Nominations for the 2019 WDS Data Stewardship Award is now open until 29 July 2019. This annual prize celebrates the exceptional contributions of early career researchers to the improvement of scientific data stewardship through their (1) engagement with the community, (2) academic achievements, and (3) innovations. We are also pleased to announce that the process has been opened up from this year, and nominations may now be made any scientific organization, group, body, union, or otherwise.

The winner for the 2019 Data Stewardship Award will be presented with their Award and a prize in plenary at the next SciDataCon (dates and venue to be confirmed)—alongside the 2020 Award winner—with their attendance covered by the World Data System.

If you know of an early career researcher who deserves to have their accomplishments recognized and highlighted to the international community then please be sure to complete the below form (see notes) and send it to the WDS International Programme Office by 29 July 2019. We also encourage you to disseminate this information far-and-wide.

  • WDS Data Stewardship Award 2019 (Word / PDF)

Second White Paper on Next Generation Disaster Data Infrastructure

Date: May 9, 2019

The work of Linked Open Data for Global Disaster Risk Research (LODGD) task group of CODATA is an increasingly important activity linking four global milestones – the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), Paris Agreement for Climate Change and the New Urban Agenda (NUA)-Habitat III. The Sendai Framework recognises this need in its guiding principles: ‘Disaster risk reduction requires a multi-hazard approach and inclusive risk-informed decision-making based on the open exchange and dissemination of disaggregated data, including by sex, age and disability, as well as on easily accessible, up-to-date, comprehensible, science-based, non-sensitive risk information….’ (Sendai Framework 2015 paragraph 19g). However, assessment processes are challenging, as they require collaboration and participation across multiple sectors, data integration, interpretation as well as the establishment of a mechanism to share data within and across UN member states, the UN system and other stakeholders. The LODGD produced series of white papers to provide policy guidance, technical understanding on data and disaster science to informs readers concisely about a complex issues, gap analysis on data interconnectivity, data infrastructure and data driven policies on disaster risk reduction. 
In this regards, the draft white paper 2 on "Next generation disaster data infrastructure" has been structured and drafted the first version for comments and review. This white paper proposes the next generation disaster data infrastructure, which includes the novel and most essential information systems and services that a country or a region can depend on in reality in order to successfully gather, process and display disaster data, and to reduce the impact of natural disasters. Fundamental requirements of the disaster data infrastructure include (1) effective multi source big disaster data collection (2) efficient big disaster data fusion, exchange, and query, (3) strict big disaster data quality control and standard construction, (4) real-time big data analysis and decision making and (5) user-friendly big data visualization. The rest of the paper is organized as follows: first, several future scenarios of disaster management are developed based on existing disaster management systems and communication technology. Second, fundamental requirements of next generation disaster data infrastructure inspired by the proposed scenarios are discussed. Following that, research questions and issues are highlighted. Finally, suggestions and conclusion are given at the end of the paper.

The draft white paper 2 is released for comments to coincide with the upcoming Global Platform in Geneva, 13-17 May 2019. The draft white paper can be accessed here <> as Word or PDF or from Google Drive  We invite comments, constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement by 30 June 2019. Please add comments and suggestions to the Google doc or send them to Edward Chu <> and  Bapon Fakhruddin <>.  The report will be refine and improved thanks to your inputs and suggestions.

CODATA and IIASA Collaboration Facilitated by TG on Data-Driven Applied Systems Analysis

Date: May 9, 2019

On Friday 26 April, a CODATA delegation met with colleagues from IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis). The purpose of the meeting was to establish a dialog between IIASA and CODATA and discuss possible joint collaboration. Among principal results was an agreement to held a workshop at the end of 2019 in IIASA with active participation of IIASA programm directors and leaders of a newly elected CODATA Task Group Advanced mathematical tools for data-driven applied systems analysis. The objective of the Task Group is development of an advanced mathematical toolkit for the wide spectrum of applied systems analysis problems, that we can be expected to face in the near future while building a global digital economy.


Disaster Risk Reduction and Open Data Newsletter: May 2019 Edition

Date: May 1, 2019

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - 2018 Annual Report

The 2018 annual report provides an overview of the results achieved by the UNISDR in relation to the three Strategic Objectives and two Enablers of its Work Programme 2016-2019.
SDSN - guides on localising sustainable development indicators
What frameworks can be used to localise global and national indicators for sustainable development? These reports from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network document the efforts to bring Sustainable Development goals to the sub-national level.
SDSN - guides on localising sustainable development indicators
What frameworks can be used to localise global and national indicators for sustainable development? These reports from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network document the efforts to bring Sustainable Development goals to the sub-national level.
Read the full newsletter here

Call for Applications - African Open Science Platform School of Research Data Science - deadline 10 May

Date: Apr 30, 2019

The African Open Science Platform School of Research Data Science, in collaboration with the CODATA-RDA Data Schools Initiative will take place on 17-28 June 2019 at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. The deadline for applications is 10 May:

The goal of this school is to train researchers in Research Data Science (RDS). RDS refers to the principles and practice of Open Science and research data management and curation, the use of a range of data platforms and infrastructures, large scale analysis, statistics, visualization and modelling techniques, software development and data annotation. These are important tools for extracting useful information from data and these tools are useful in every research area. A 10-day school, organized by the African Open Science Platform (AOSP), the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS), CODATA: the Committee on Data of the International Science Council, the Research Data Alliance (RDA), the International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and East African Institute for Fundamental Research (EAIFR), will be conducted at Addis Ababa University to introduce participants to the skills of RDS.

Topics covered

  • Open Science
  • Unix Shell
  • Version Control
  • Introduction to R
  • Research Data Management
  • Databases and SQL
  • Data Visualization
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Neural Networks
  • Research Computational Infrastructure


Robert Quick
UITS Research Technologies, Indiana University
rquick (at)       

Louise Bezuidenhout
Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford
louise.bezuidenhout [at]

Solomon Gizaw
Department of Computer Science, Addis Ababa University
solomong [at]

Participation Information

This school is open to researchers in every field. Science graduates (masters and doctoral levels) working in data intensive fields will find it particularly useful. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. Selection of participants will be based on their technical background and also the urgency of their needs to apply the tools of RDS.

Applications for participation for the workshop must be made at:

Deadline for applications: May 10, 2019

For further information contact:

Information for Applicants

There is no registration fee for this event.  Some support for travel and accommodation is available and its allocation will be determined during the selection process.  Much of this funding is intended for participants from lower and middle income countries. Potential participants have the opportunity to indicate they need support in the application.  Self-funded participants are welcome. All applicants are strongly encouraged to look for alternative ‘third-party’ sources of funding to support their participation. Applicants are expected to be based in Ethiopia or certain countries in the surrounding region (Eritrea, South Sudan, Somalia and Central African Republic). 

The AOSP School of Research Data Science, in collaboration with CODATA-RDA, is open to researchers in any discipline.  The data skills taught are also useful for (data) librarians and other research support staff, such as those who envisage a career as data steward or data analysts.  Furthermore, people who are more advanced in their careers who would like to improve their data skills as a form of continuing professional development are also eligible.

Participants will be selected on merit from a very competitive field.  Applicants are urged therefore to ensure they pay careful and full attention to the requirements of the application process.  

Selected participants for this School will have a baseline of data skills and these will have been tested by an online form.  

Applicants should pay particular attention to their personal statement and communicate persuasively their reasons for wishing to attend the School: how do they intend to use these skills and experiences, how will participation in the Summer School and/or Advanced Workshops benefit their research or the institution in which they work?  Finally, candidates should take pains to ensure that their application is well supported by references from their past or present tutors or line managers. This is particularly important so that the directors and organisers of these events have confidence in the candidate and that the skills learnt will have the maximum benefit and impact.

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