Although the WDS website is now back online, we must apologize that the WDS Membership Management Tool is still undergoing maintenance and will not be available until Tuesday, 11 August. We once again thank you for your understanding and we apologize for any incovenience.
The International Science Council’s Committee on Data (CODATA) and World Data System (WDS), and the Research Data Alliance (RDA) can announce that the theme of International Data Week (IDW) 2021 will be 'Data to Improve Our World'. In the era of the fourth industrial revolution, data have become an important resource that drives science and technology and leads to new discoveries, ...
Thank you to everyone who has responded to the Call for Expressions of Interest (EoI) to host the WDS International Programme Office from 1 April 2021. The Call is now closed . All EoIs received will now be reviewed, and an official announcement will be made in the coming weeks.
Hazards Defined and Classified to Strengthen Disaster Risk Reduction Our world is faced by a broad range of complex hazards, whether they are due to natural or environmental phenomena, human interventions, or societal challenges. However, the lack of common definitions for such hazards can hamper effective monitoring of disaster risk reduction efforts. Recognizing this challenge, ...
New OECD Report: Building Digital Workforce Capacity and Skills for Data-intensive Science
We would like to bring your attention to the following report published by OECD and that may be of interest to the WDS community:
OECD (2020), “Building digital workforce capacity and skills for data-intensive science”, OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers, No. 90, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/e08aa3bb-en
This report was commissioned by the OECD Global Science Forum to identify: the skills needed for data-intensive science, the challenges for building sustainable capacity as these needs evolve, and the policy actions that can be taken by different actors to address these needs. The report includes policy recommendations for various actors and good practice examples to support these recommendations, and also notes the value of international cooperation in skills capacity efforts.
WDS International Technology Office Signs MoU with Canada's New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization
A Blog post by Karen Payne (WDS-ITO Associate Director)
You spoke. We listened.
The WDS International Technology Office (WDS-ITO) was created to support Member Organizations of WDS as they develop their data repositories in the areas of data and metadata management, infrastructure, and interoperability. In order to respond most effectively to Member needs, last year the WDS-ITO, with the support of the WDS International Program Office, conducted a survey to evaluate your areas of interest and determine what types of projects you would like WDS to support. Our key finding was a list of potential WDS-ITO projects, ranked according to interest. You can read the report of the survey here. We discovered that the top two areas of interest were adding: 1) semantic markup to metadata and 2) harvestable metadata services. In response, the WDS-ITO has secured funds from Canada’s national New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO) to hire two fulltime staff members to work on these projects. The funding provides dedicated resources to develop collaborative partnerships among the WDS-ITO, its members, and relevant international and Canadian interest groups to increase availability and interoperability of metadata assets globally.
Over the next year, the WDS-ITO will be working with the Research Data Alliance Research Metadata Schemas Working Group (WG) to help provide repositories with guidance and tools to add Schema.org markup to metadata. As a first step, the WDS-ITO has prototyped an online visualization tool based on a survey of current practices in using schemas to describe research datasets. The tool shows how some communities have crosswalked common metadata terms to Schema.org properties, and can be useful to repositories that are interested in knowing how other repositories are utilizing Schema.org terms. It can also be used as consensus building for communities of practice that have not yet created a crosswalk between their metadata format of choice and Schema.org properties. We will continue to build on that tool, and provide other guidance to WDS Members to help make their metadata more ‘web friendly’ in the coming months.
Figure 1: A screenshot from the WDS-ITO prototype visualization tool showing crosswalks between Schema.org and common metadata standards.
Try it yourself at https://rd-alliance.github.io/Research-Metadata-Schemas-WG/
As part of our support for those groups interested in harvestable metadata, the WDS-ITO has created a WG of WDS Members who are interested in standing up harvestable metadata services. This WDS Harvestable Metadata Services (HMetS) WG is co-chaired by two members of the WDS Scientific Committee: Aude Chambodut, Director of the International Service of Geomagnetic Indices in Strasbourg (WDS Regular Member) and Juanle Wang, Director of the WDC for Renewable Resources and Environment in Beijing (WDS Regular Member). The HMetS WG is coordinated by Alicia Urquidi Diaz, the WDS-ITO’s first employee! To date, eight WDS Member Representatives have expressed interest in participating in the WG, and we welcome any other Members who would like to join.
This project is designed around three objectives:
- Documenting use cases, the current challenges faced by WDS Members who wish to create harvestable services. What is their current infrastructure?
- Helping develop implementation plans, written by Members to define a pathway to creating harvestable metadata services.
- A paper identifying lessons learned and guidance materials that can be used by the wider Research Data Management community
The HMetS WG will convene regular online meetings, and bring in presenters who can speak to some of the pathways and long-term benefits of creating harvestable metadata services.
Both of the above work packages will draw on the expertise of and synchronize with ongoing research data management activities in Canada, with the ultimate goal of opening up more metadata records to the international scientific community.
Springboard Blog Post on the TRUST Principles
We would like to point you to the following article, published on 8 June 2020 on the Springboard blog of the Springer Nature Group, and which we believe is of direct interest to the WDS community:
In this blog post, Varsha Khodiyar (Data Curation Manager, Research Data and New Product Development) describes why Springer Nature has endorsed the TRUST Principles and their importance to data management within the research community.
For more information on the TRUST Principles and how your organization can endorse them, please see our news article.
Knowledge Service for Disaster Risk Reduction: A Practice Using Big Data Technology
A Blog post by Juanle Wang (2019 WDS Scientific Committee Member)
Under the dual influences of global climate change and human activities, the frequency and the intensity of natural disasters have been growing in recent years, and resulting in increasingly serious disaster losses. Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is thus a common and urgent global challenge. Driven by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO’s) DRR mission, the DRR Knowledge Service (DRRKS) System was founded under the UNESCO International Knowledge Centre for Engineering Sciences and Technology. The remit of the System is to formulate global disaster metadata standards; build global disaster metadata database; integrate global or regional disaster data; establish disaster knowledge services; carry out disaster prevention education, training, and technology promotion; and form comprehensive technology and service capabilities .
The DRRKS System has established 16 online knowledge applications, as shown on their homepage, to mine, analyze, and visualize disaster information based on Big Data resources. In this blog post, I would like to briefly introduce two cases that are supported by Big Data technologies in remote sensing and social media mining.
Case 1: Land Degradation and Restoration Monitoring in Mongolia Using Remote Sensing 
Land degradation is an important environmental problem facing the world. ‘Land Degradation Neutrality’ is one of the core indicators of Goal 15 (Life on Land) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Mongolia is one of the areas of the world that is most affected by desertification. It is therefore of great importance to accurately comprehend the state of desertification in Mongolia to (1) prevent its further advance, (2) control desertification risks, and (3) guarantee ecological security and sustainable social development. To this end, fine resolution (30-m) land cover datasets of Mongolia were obtained by using an object-oriented method, and the land degradation and restoration patterns during 1990–2010 and 2010–2015 analyzed (Fig.1). For the past 25 years, the trend of land change in Mongolia has been dominated by land degradation. However, this land degradation was accompanied by ongoing restoration of some land areas in Mongolia, and the capacity for land restoration is gradually improving. The northwestern and northeastern parts of Mongolia have shown the most significant land restoration; namely, the areas having relatively sufficient water resources.
Figure 1: Typical regions of land degradation and land restoration between 1995–2010 in Mongolia.
(a) 1990–2010 (land degradation), (b) 1990–2010 (land restoration)
Case 2: Public Sentiment Analysis of COVID-19 Events in China Using Social Media
Similar to Twitter, SINA microblog is a social media channel in which Chinese people regularly post their opinions. These types of social media indicate the public’s changing thoughts and emotions rapidly and frequently during an epidemic (now pandemic) such as the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The DRRKS team analyzed the temporal and spatial changes to microblogs referencing the (then) epidemic, and gathered the main topics being discussed by the public according to data from SINA microblog. Through the permitted data Application Programming Interface of the SINA Microblog, original messages have been collected since 00:00 on 9 January 2020 containing the keywords “coronavirus” and “pneumonia”. The following information has been extracted: timestamp (i.e., the time when the message was posted), text (the message posted by a user), and location information. The DRRKS team have then analyzed the Microblog messages related to the Coronavirus outbreak in terms of space and time. Temporal changes over one-hour and one-day intervals, and spatial distribution at provincial levels, have been investigated through a kernel density estimation using ArcGIS to identify hotspots of public opinion. The spatial and temporal distribution of public opinion in China during the early stages of the epidemic has been discovered and is available in a DRRKS online application. For example, Figure 2 shows the distribution of help and donation hot spots from 9 January to 10 February.
Figure 2: Distribution of help and donation hot spots according to microblogs in China
(9 January to 10 February 2020)
 Juanle Wang, Kun Bu, Fei Yang, Yuelei Yuan, Yujie Wang, Xuehua Han, Haishuo Wei. Disaster Risk Reduction Knowledge Service: A Paradigm Shift from Disaster Data Towards Knowledge Services, Pure and Applied Geophysics. (2020) 177:135-148
 Juanle Wang, Haishuo Wei, Kai Cheng, Altansukh Ochir, Davaadorj Davaasuren, Pengfei Li, Faith Ka Shun Chan, Elbegjargal Nasanbat. Spatio-Temporal Pattern of Land Degradation from 1990 to 2015 in Mongolia, Environmental Development, 2020.