CODATA-RDA School of Research Data Science

The ever-accelerating volume and variety of data being generated is having a huge impact of 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. What can justly be called the ‘Data Revolution’ offers many opportunities coupled with significant challenges. High among these is the need to develop the necessary professions and skills.  There is a recognised need for individuals with the combination of skills necessary to optimise use of the new data sets. Such individuals may have a variety of different titles: Data Scientist, Data Engineer, Data Analyst, Data Visualiser, Data Curator. All of them are essential in making the most of the data generated. 

Contemporary research – particularly when addressing the most significant, transdisciplinary research challenges – cannot effectively be done 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, etc, etc. The ensemble of these skills, we define as ‘Research Data Science’.

Modern Research Data skills are common to all disciplines and training in ‘Research Data Science’ needs to take this into account.  For example, all disciplines need to ensure that research is reproducible and that provenance is documented reliably and this requires a transformation in practice and the promotion of ‘Research Data Science’ skills.

It is strategic priority for both CODATA and the Research Data Alliance to build capacity and to develop skills, training young researchers in the principles of Research Data Science. Particular attention is paid to the needs of young researchers in LMICs. It is important that Open Data and Open Science benefit research in LMICs and the unequal ability to exploit these developments does not become another lamentable aspect of the ‘digital divide’.  On the contrary, it has been argued that the ‘Data Revolution’ provides a notable opportunity for reducing that divide in a number of respects.


ICTP Adriatico Guest House which will host the school

Mission and Objectives

The CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Summer Schools will:

  • address recognised need for Research Data Science skills across disciplines;
  • follow an recognised and accredited curriculum;
  • provide a pathway from a broad introductory course for all researchers (Vanilla) through more advanced and specialised courses (Flavours and Toppings);
  • be reproducible: all materials will be online with Open licences;
  • be scalable: emphasis will be placed on Training New Teachers (TNT) and building sustainable partnerships.


First CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Summer School, 1-12 August, ICTP, Trieste

The first full introductory or Vanilla course will take place from 1-12 August 2016 at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy: see

We are grateful for the support of the co-convenors, CODATA, RDA and ICTP, as well as sponsorshop from The World Academy of Sciences, RDA Europe, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and GEO, the Group on Earth Observations.   Thanks to this support 20 tutors and helpers and 60-70 students will participate.

The curriculum for the first course has been prepared in collaboration with a number of partners, including Software Carpentry, Data Carpentry and the Digital Curation Centre

Convenors and Organisers




Useful Links


Working Group Co-Chairs

Sarah Jones, Digital Curation Centre, Scotland: Sarah.Jones [at]

Ciira Maina, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Kenya: ciira.maina [at]

Rob Quick, University of Indiana, USA: rquick [at]

Hugh Shanahan, Royal Holloway University of London, England: Hugh.Shanahan [at]


Previous Co-Chairs

Simon Hodson, CODATA: simon [at]

Anelda van der Walt, Talarify.

Andrew Harrison, University of Essex.