Science International 2015: Big Data/Open Data

Date: Oct 1, 2015

CODATA has been asked to take a leading role in Science International 2015: Big Data/Open Data.The Expert Working Group that has been tasked with producing the international science ‘accord’, that is the principal output of this initiative, is being chaired by CODATA President Geoffrey Boulton.

Science International
Science International is a new coalition of the major international science bodies – ICSU, the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) – to bring its members’ combined international representation and credibility to act as a single global voice for science in the international policy arena. For the first edition of Science International, the four partner organizations have selected the issue of ‘Big Data/Open Data’.
Science International 2015: Big Data/Open Data
‘Big data’ has emerged as a major opportunity for scientific discovery, while ‘open data’ will enhance the efficiency, productivity and creativity of the public research enterprise and counteract tendencies towards the privatisation of knowledge. In addition, concurrent open publication of the data underpinning scientific papers can provide the basis of scientific ’self correction’. For organisations, individuals and society to maximise the benefits of big data, however, will depend on the extent to which there is open access to publicly-funded scientific data.

In this regard, there are a growing number of calls from various actors, both within and outside the scientific community, and from inter-governmental bodies such as the G8, the OECD and the UN, for open access to publicly-funded scientific data, especially regarding data of particular importance to major global challenges.

Full exploitation of ‘big data’, however, will also depend on the extent to which national science systems are able to develop the capacity to use it, on avoiding the creation of new ‘knowledge divides’, and on deciding which data can be made open for use and re-use.
‘Big Data/Open Data’ will therefore be the subject of the first meeting of Science International, to be held in Pretoria, South Africa, from 7-9 December 2015. The meeting will be hosted by South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology and held in parallel with the first South African Open Science Forum and a planned G77 Ministerial meeting.

At the meeting, the Science International partner organizations will agree an international science ‘accord’ on Big Data/Open Data. The accord will be prepared by an expert working group jointly appointed by the partner organizations and will be presented in Pretoria at the G77 + China Ministerial Forum and the Open Science Forum.

The meeting will also recommend a global plan for data science capacity development, with an initial focus on Africa.

Historic launch of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

Date: Sep 30, 2015

Xaiogang (Marshall) Ma, from the CODATA Early Career Data Professionals Group (ECDP), recently attended the Historic Launch of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, in New York City on September 28th.

"The forum was held in the Jade Room of the Waldorf Astoria hotel, and lasted for three hours from 2 to 5PM, with a tight but well-organized schedule of about 10 lightning talks, four panels and about 30 commitment introductions from the partners.

 The panels and lightning talks focused on why open data is needed, how to make data open and, especially, what and the value of Open Data for The 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development and the social impact that the data can generate. I was happy to see that successful stories of Open geospatial data were mentioned several times in the lightening talks and the panels..."

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'Making Open Science a Reality': New OECD Report Published

Date: Sep 29, 2015

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) has just released its study on ‘Making Open Science a Reality’.

This document also comprises individual country notes available here.

The report preface summarises well the significance of the study and its contents:

Science is the mother of the digital age. And yet, twenty-two years after CERN placed the World Wide Web software in the public domain, effectively creating the open internet, science itself has struggled not only to “go digital” but also to “go open”. This report, Making open science a reality reviews the progress in OECD countries in making the results of publicly funded research, namely scientific publications and research data openly accessible to researchers and innovators alike.

The report i) reviews the policy rationale behind open science and open data; ii) discusses and presents evidence on the impacts of policies to promote open science and open data; iii) explores the legal barriers and solutions to greater access to research data; iv) provides a description of the key actors involved in open science and their roles; and finally v) assesses progress in OECD and selected non-member countries based a survey of recent policy trends.

This project was carried out as a part of the activities of the OECD’s Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy (TIP).

Find out more:

Get Ready to Apply for the CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Summer School

Date: Sep 22, 2015

First Introductory 'Vanilla' CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Summer School

The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, in collaboration with CODATA, RDA and TWAS, is organising a short course in the data science approaches and skills that are essential for 21st century research. The CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Summer School will be held at the ICTP, Trieste, Italy from 1st to 12th August 2016.

The ever-accelerating volume and variety of data being generated is having a huge impact on a wide variety of research disciplines, from the sciences to the humanities. The international, collective ability to create, share and analyse vast quantities of data is having a profound, transformative effect. This 'Data Revolution' offers great opportunities for students with modern data skills, both in conducting their research and in entering a jobs market where those skills are in demand.

Contemporary research – particularly when addressing the most significant, transdisciplinary research challenges – cannot be done effectively without a range of skills relating to data. This includes 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, visualisation and modelling techniques, software development and annotation and more. We define ‘Research Data Science’ as the ensemble of these skills.

The application form will be made available from 19 October 2015.  The deadline for applications is 18 April 2016.

For more information see the full presentation of this event on the ICTP website

Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship 2016

Date: Sep 17, 2015

Are you a UK based researcher? Can you demonstrate a passion for your area, an ability to communicate ideas effectively and a real interest in the role of software in research?

Then, the following information may be of interest to you:

The Software Sustainability Institute holds a Fellowship Programme that funds
researchers in exchange for their expertise and advice.

The deadline for applications is 1 October 2015.

The main goals of the Programme are gathering intelligence about research and software from all disciplines, encouraging Fellows to develop their interests in the area of software sustainability (especially in their areas of work) and aiding the Fellows as ambassadors of good software practice in their domains. The programme also support capacity building and policy development initiatives. 

Each Fellow is allocated £3,000 to spend over fifteen months.

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About the Software Sustainability Institute

UK National facility* for cultivating and improving research software to support world-class research, the Institute is a leading international authority on research software sustainability, working with researchers, funders, software engineers, managers, and other stakeholders across the research spectrum.

The use of software in research continues to grow, and the Institute plays a key role in helping the research community to help itself. We have built a network of over 60 Fellows from across research disciplines, championed research software and software career paths to stakeholders, worked with over 50 projects to improve their codes, written guides on all aspects of software sustainability read by over 50,000 people, and organised training events for thousands of learners. Our mission is to cultivate better, more sustainable, research software to enable world-class research (“Better software, better research”)

*based at the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Oxford and Southampton

Further information

Second Scientific Data Conference held in Lanzhou, China

Date: Sep 16, 2015

The Second Scientific Data Conference, sponsored by the Chinese National Committee for CODATA (CODATA-China), was held in Lanzhou, China on 26-27 August, 2015. More than 450 experts, scholars and students from over 100 research units participated in this conference. 

Under the national strategy of Internet Plus and One Belt and One Road in the big data era, this conference aimed to discuss scientific data sharing and its basic theory, method, technology, management and application to diverse fields including environment resources, ecology, information consumption, space-based astronomy, medicine and health.

The conference also aimed to explore, develop and promote an innovative scientific activity model driven by scientific big data, to serve the construction of greater scientific collaboration in the Silk Road economic belt.

This extract comes from a post provided by CODATA China Secretariat: Dr. Li Jianhui, Ms. Zhang Hui and Ms. Li Chang.

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Introducing the new Data Science Journal Editorial Board

Date: Sep 16, 2015

Sarah Callaghan, the new Editor-in-Chief of the Data Science Journal, recently relaunched with Ubiquity Press, writes:

It is my great pleasure to be able to introduce the new editorial team for the Data Science Journal. We have gathered an exceptional team, with members from all around the world, covering data science topics as diverse as data stewardship, databases, large scale data facilities, data visualisation, geospatial aspects of data, semantics, data policy and much, much more. Our editorial board members also bring expertise in research fields such as (but not limited to) Earth sciences, libraries, scientific computing, public health, humanities, mathematics, genomics, computational biology, physics and statistics.

Read more on the CODATA Blog...

Call for Participation: Interdisciplinary Conference on Digital Cultural Heritage

Date: Sep 10, 2015

Berlin State Library - CC BY-SA 3.0 - Manfred BrückelsCODATA-Germany is partnering CODATA International (the ICSU Committee on Data for Science and Technology) in organising "DCH2015": the International Interdisciplinary Conference on Digital Cultural Heritage, in Berlin (Germany), 28-30 October 2015.


The conference is open for contributions that cover technical challenges as well as strategic guidance. Key messages relating to the impact of new technologies and processes on cultural heritage are especially welcome.

Our special aims:

raise awareness in society, science, and technology fields about importance of the cultural

  • dimensions and the growing potential of Digital Cultural Heritage
  • promote innovative content analysis from cross-organizational interoperability of digital 
  • humanities databases and XML methods, techniques, and approaches
  • indicate on the central role of spatial concepts enabling synergy for knowledge generation 
  • from massive granular digital cultural heritage content
  • create innovative cross-disciplines / cross sectors partnerships facilitate intercultural and 
  • interdisciplinary dialogue
  • elaborate roles and interest of information society

Venue: Staatsbibliothek Berlin

Program Details and registration (open) at:


IUCr Workshop on Metadata for raw data from X-ray diffraction and other structural techniques

Date: Sep 9, 2015

From 22 to 23 August 2015, in Rovinj (Croatia), the International Union of Crystallography, which is a member of CODATA, held, through its Diffraction Data Deposition Working Group, a Metadata workshop to define the need for and practicalities of routine deposition of primary experimental data in X-ray diffraction and related experiments.

The workshop took the form of a two-day satellite of the 29th European Crystallographic Meeting with lectures from crystallographic practitioners, data management specialists and standards maintainers.

The videos of all the presentations and discussions during the workshop "Metadata for raw
data from X-ray diffraction and other structural techniques" are now available through the workshop web page at:

The event, graciously described by one participant as "an inspiring workshop on what was nominally a rather dry subject", gathered over 20 experts to critically review the central importance of detailed metadata to proper scientific practice.

It also considered the challenges of acquiring, sharing and validating high-quality metadata, especially in the age of high-throughput 'Big Data' experiments; and the best approaches to interoperability amongst diverse workflows, file formats and granularity of descriptive ontologies.

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First ICSTI Webinar featuring CODATA President Geoffrey Boulton

Date: Sep 1, 2015

This autumn, CODATA as an associate member of the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI), will participate to the first webinar organised by this institution in collaboration with the National Information Standards Organization (NISO)

The event will take place on Tuesday 10 November 2015 at 10-00am (Eastern Daylight Time USA) and will address the topic of ‘A Pathway from Open Access and Data Sharing to Open Science in Practice’.

It will last 90 minutes and the contributors are Professor Geoffrey Boulton of the Royal Society and President of CODATA, and José Cotta of the European Commission; Jerry Sheehan of the National Library of Medicine on secondment to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will moderate the meeting (to be confirmed). We will send you more details, including how to sign up for the webinar, in due course.

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ICSTI website

NISO website

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