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Second LAC Workshop to be Held Online on 10 & 24 February: Register Now!

We are delighted to announce that the Second Latin America and the Caribbean Scientific Data Management Workshop will be held online on Wednesday, 10 and Wednesday, 24 February. Registration is now open.   Register here The Second Latin America and the Caribbean Scientific Data Management Workshop convened by the World Data System of the International Science Council ...

Outcome of Transformations Within Reach Is Now Available

The outcome of  Transformations within Reach is now available, which includes all the reports and videos of 'Part two: Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID World' of the recent webinar ' COVID-19–From Recovery to Sustainability '.   Discover the outcome here The COVID-19 pandemic has been a warning to get on track to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, ...

Register Now: Webinars on Introducing International Data Week 2021

Register Now: Webinars on Introducing International Data Week 2021

International Data Week (IDW) brings together data scientists, researchers, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, policymakers and data stewards from disciplines across the globe to explore how best to exploit the data revolution to improve science and society through data-driven discovery and innovation. IDW combines the Research Data Alliance (RDA) Plenary Meeting , the biannual meeting ...

Oak Ridge Institute Selected To Host WDS-IPO

Oak Ridge Institute Selected To Host WDS-IPO

The International Science Council (ISC) and its World Data System (WDS) are extremely pleased to announce that the  Oak Ridge Institute at the University of Tennessee (ORI at UT) has been chosen as the new host of the WDS International Programme Office (WDS-IPO). The new hosting is subject to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between ISC and ORI at UT, which is currently under ...

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Canada’s Path to a Global Open Research Commons

Karen.jpgBlog post by Karen Payne (WDS-ITO Associate Director)

I would like to bring your attention the following white paper that was recently published by David Castle (WDS-SC member), Mark Leggott (Executive Director, Research Data Canada), and I. This paper is one of a set collected by Canada's New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO) as part of their needs assessment and strategic planning activities. We believe it is also of interest to the WDS community:

 This article emphasizes three points:

  • The need for Canada to differentiate the national government’s role from that of commercial providers;
  • The need to meet researchers where they are, by taking stock of the tools they already use; and most importantly,
  • The need to support international coordination mechanisms such as the World Data System.

The article concludes that “a principled approach to building scientific infrastructure will best serve Canada and our international partners. No single community or country can address every consideration in the [digital research infrastructure] landscape, making it incumbent upon NDRIO to coordinate with international scientific federations as they marshal their strengths to address global challenges.”

Benchmarking the Global Open Research Commons

Karen.jpgBlog post by Karen Payne (WDS-ITO Associate Director)

Trustworthy Data Repositories (TDRs) are a key pillar within the Global Open Research Commons (GORC), utilized by researchers as they address societal grand challenges such as climate change, pandemics, and poverty. The realized vision of the GORC will provide frictionless access to all research resources, including data, publications, software, and compute resources; plus the metadata, vocabulary, and identification services that enable their discovery and use by humans and machines. Part of the mission of the WDS International Technology Office (WDS-ITO) is to ensure that WDS Members are well represented in the coordination bodies, infrastructures, and functional pipelines that connect TDRs, analytics, and computing resources, globally. As part of this work, the WDS-ITO has taken a leadership role within the Research Data Alliance’s (RDA’s)  GORC Interest Group (IG), and the GORC Working Group (WG) on International Benchmarking

The GORC IG is working on a set of deliverables to support coordination amongst organizations that are building commons, including a roadmap for global alignment to help set priorities for commons development and integration. In support of this roadmap, the GORC Benchmarking WG will develop and collect a set of benchmarks for organizations such that they can internally measure their user engagement and development, and gauge their maturity and compare features across commons. 

In the first case, the WG will collect information about how existing commons measure success, adoption, or use of the services within an organization, such as data downloads, contributed software, and similar Key Performance Indicators and access statistics.  Secondly, we will also curate a set of benchmarks that will enable commons developers to compare features across science clouds. For example, we could consider benchmarks such as evidence or the existence of a well-defined decision making process, a consistent and openly available data privacy policy, and a workflow for adding and maintaining PIDs for managed assets—just to name a few. 

This WG is motivated by the broader goal of openly sharing data and related services across technologies, disciplines, and countries. The deliverables of the WG will inform roadmaps for development of the infrastructure necessary to meet this goal, while forging strong partnerships across the national-, regional-, and domain-focused commons that will be crucial to its success. Observable and measurable benchmarks will help create a tangible path for the development and support of strategic planning across science commons infrastructures and build a common that is globally interoperable. It will also support developers as they seek resources to build the GORC by helping them respond to funding agency requirements for measurable deliverables. WDS Members are a key component of this vision. 

The work will build on previous RDA groups that some WDS Members may have previously or are currently involved with, such as the National Data Services IG, the  Domain Repositories IG, the Data Fabric IG, and the Virtual Research Environment IG. These groups, and many others outside of RDA, will have recommendations that speak to functionality and features of various components of commons; for example, the re3data.org schema for collecting information on research data repositories for registration, the European Open Science Cloud’s (EOSC’s) FAIR and Sustainability WGs that seek to define the EOSC as a Minimum Viable Product. We will review these and other related outputs to see if they have identified benchmarks that we feel will support our goals. 

The GORC International Benchmarking WG Case Statement is open for public review until Monday, 8 February 2021, and we have submitted a session proposal for RDA’s 17th Plenary Meeting to be held in April. We invite all WDS Members to provide comments or get involved in the RDA GORC IG and WG. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Karen Payne (ito-director[at]oceannetworks[dot]ca) at the WDS-ITO. We would love to talk to you!

We Must Tear Down the Barriers That Impede Scientific Progress

We would like to bring your attention the following article published on 18 December 2020 in Scientific American that we believe is of interest to the WDS community:

  –  We Must Tear Down the Barriers That Impede Scientific Progress

This article was written by Michael M. Crow and Greg Tananbaum to emphasize how Open Science contributed to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and the importance of 'openness' not only for science and the economy but also for society. The article concludes with a paragraph that strongly resonates with the work of the World Data System:

There are hurdles to widespread adoption of open science practices, to be sure. Researchers need proper training on data management plans, reuse licensing and other good open science hygiene. Infrastructure must be developed and nurtured to preserve scientific data, curate it and render it actionable. And organizations must overcome their natural entropy, which makes tackling big, cross-cutting initiatives like open science challenging. While these obstacles are nontrivial, they are small in comparison to the scientific, economic, and societal benefits of open. In a moment of great peril, maintaining the status quo will ultimately prove more costly.

Promoting Proper Data Citation Practices

Robert R. DownsA Blog post by Robert R. Downs (Senior Digital Archivist and Senior Staff Associate Officer of Research, Center for International Earth Science Information Network

The recent EOS opinion article, Data Sets Are Foundational to Research. Why Don’t We Cite Them?, reflects the perspectives of a team of data stewards from five Distributed Active Archive Centers of NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System. In that piece, a salient issue that the authors emphasize is the need to properly cite data, since it is apparent that data citation behavior has not been adopted as a norm, yet, across the Earth Sciences. The authors have observed that data citation has increased during the past decade, but they also have higher expectations for community adoption of data citation practices and, in particular, proper data citation practices. A renewed effort to promote data citation practices is necessary to remind the research community about the need to properly cite data that are used during the preparation of a journal article, report, or other publication.

It is gratifying to see that there has been progress in the adoption of data citation practices. However, when considering the slow adoption of data citation practices, we need to improve communication about the importance of data citation and the benefits that proper data citation offers to all stakeholders. For example, at the risk of oversimplifying such benefits, we might say that, as a result of proper data citation practices:

   –  Article authors can inform readers about the data used in their work.
   –  Article readers can access the data used in studies of interest.
   –  Journal editors can model ethical publication practices.
   –  Data producers can be recognized for sharing their data.
   –  Data repositories and their host institutions can measure their effectiveness.
   –  Promotion committees can assess the research contributions of colleagues.
   –  Sponsors can see how their investments have been leveraged for scientific progress.

 Promoting Proper Data Citation Practices Graphic

Some efforts have reinforced the importance of proper data citation along with techniques for how article authors can cite data. Data repositories display recommended data citations on data landing pages and in metadata and documentation. Journal editors have begun to require authors to cite the data that are used in the preparation of publications. But more must be done to inform colleagues about the importance of data citation so that the adoption of proper data citation practices becomes the norm when publishing research reports. Too often, data are not cited, or are cited without the necessary attribution information to enable the data to be accessed. Furthermore, references to data are not always included in the bibliography section of a publication, or the data reference that is included in the bibliography is incorrect or incomplete.

In many ways, citing data is similar to citing articles. Like articles, the bibliographic reference for data citations should include the following six elements to describe the data that have been used for a publication:

   –  Authors (data producers).
   –  Complete title (including version).
   –  Publication date.
   –  Publisher (data distributor).
   –  Persistent identifier.
   –  Date accessed.

For those seeking recommendations on proper data citation, guidance materials are freely available online. The Data Preservation and Stewardship Committee of the Earth Science Information Partners (WDS Partner Member) recently updated its Data Citation Guidelines for Earth Science Data with detailed explanations and examples. The Quick Guide to Data Citation was produced by the International Association of Social Science Information Services and Technology and focusses on the simplicity of a data citation.

Hopefully, the adoption of proper data citation practices will become more prevalent across the Earth science community, as well as within other research communities, as the research culture continues to evolve. Promoting and serving as exemplars for proper data citation practices could help to encourage others to properly cite data in their publications.

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