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December 2020


Membership News


Ethan Welty Wins 2020 WDS Data Stewardship Award

Ethan Welty (credit: Obadiah Reid)
Congratulations to Dr Ethan Welty, who has been chosen by the WDS Scientific Committee (WDS-SC) as the 2020 winner of the WDS Data Stewardship Award. Dr Welty will be presented with the 2020 Award and a prize at International Data Week 2021 alongside 2019 winner Libby Liggins.

Ethan Welty is a glaciologist specializing in the analysis of glacier time-lapse photographs, and a scientific data and software consultant for organizations such as the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WDS Regular Member). He contributed to the development of the Glacier Thickness Database (GlaThiDa) V3, which is the third release of the first database centralizing measurements of glacier ice thickness across the globe.

Dr Welty was selected from a very large number of high-quality candidates, and in this regard, the WDS-SC would also like to recognize the strong nominations of Dr Phond Phunchongharn and Dr Lianchong Zhang, chosen in second and third place, respectively.

Second Place

Phond Phunchongharn is a computer engineering researcher and a lecturer of the Computer Engineering department at King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Thailand. She is a leader of KMUTT team in collaborating with the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Her research field relates to machine learning, deep learning, and resource allocation.

Third Place

Lianchong Zhang is a scientist in the National Earth Observation Data Center (NODA). As a key leader, his team has developed the operating system of ChinaGEOSS Data Sharing Network, and maintained the data curation and data services in NODA. Lianchong is one of the co-chairs of the WDS Early Career Researchers and Scientists Network, and is the Network's incumbent representative on the WDS-SC. His research interests include data integration, data standardization, data mining and knowledge discovery.

Call for Sessions for SciDataCon 2021

The International Science Council’s World Data System and Committee on Data (CODATA) are pleased to announce that the Call for Session Proposals is now open for SciDataCon 2021, which is an integral part of International Data Week (IDW) 2021 (8–11 November 2021; Seoul). Session proposals should be submitted through the SciDataCon 2021 website by 23:59 UTC on 31 March 2021.

The overarching theme of IDW 2021 and SciDataCon is 'Data to Improve our World', with the following high-level subthemes:

  • Data to Improve our World: The role of data to address global challenges
  • The State of Open Science Globally
  • Research Transparency, Accountability, and Reproducibility
  • Data, Research and Industry: The Interface between Data-intensive Research and Innovation
  • Science and Society: Engagement and participation
  • Empowering and Enabling Society: Data Science and Stewardship Education and Data Literacy
Session proposals addressing the above themes are particularly welcome, and also in scope are proposals addressing: Data and Research; Data Science and Data Analysis; Data Stewardship; Policy and Practice of Data in Research; Data and Education; Data, Society, Ethics, and Politics; and Open Data, Innovation, Industry and Development. Simple presentation of research results is not in scope, the primary focus should always be on the data issues in different fields of research.

Sessions will be 90 minutes in duration, and may include presentations of original research, of interesting data practices, or a mix of the two. Sessions may be structured around conventional presentations and discussion, or they may take more interactive formats, including panels and interactive workshops. Presenters may be invited or submissions requested. All session proposals will be peer-reviewed. More information on proposing a session may be found here:

Key Dates

15 December 2020: Release call for sessions
31 March 2021: Deadline for session proposals
01 May 2021: Release call for presentations
30 June 2021: Deadline for presentations
31 July 2021: Publish programme

International Data Week: New Website Launched

Together with CODATA and the Research Data Alliance (RDA), we are delighted to announce the launch of the new IDW website.

Check out the new website:

Draft UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science

Following an extensive global consultation, the first draft of the future UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science was submitted to its 193 Member States for their comments. The draft Recommendation was developed based on the valuable insights from UNESCO Partners, including those in Open Science for a Global Transformation, a joint response from an expert group of representatives from WDS, CODATA, GO FAIR, and the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information

The WDS community is encouraged to send comments on this first draft to openscience[at]unesco[dot]org by 31 December 2020. The second draft will be circulated in March 2021 for subsequent negotiation by the UNESCO Member States, who are scheduled to adopt the final draft at the next UNESCO General Conference in November 2021.

WDS Blog Posts

The latest in the WDS-SC Blog series are from David Castle, who joined the WDS-SC in February 2019; and Alex de Sherbinin, the WDS-SC Chair. We are also very pleased to point you to the recent invited post from Robert R. Downs of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network.

David Castle Digital Skill and Workforce Capacity

A Blog post by David Castle (WDS Scientific Committee Member)
In July of this year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its report, Building Digital Workforce Capacity and Skills for Data Intensive Science. Commissioned by the OECD’s Global Science Forum (GSF) in 2019, this is the ninetieth report in the OECD’s series of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Papers. (READ MORE)

Alex de Sherbinin Current Data Practices in Citizen Science

A Blog post by Alex de Sherbinin (WDS Scientific Committee Chair)
In 2016, the International Science Council’s Committee on Data (CODATA) and World Data System (WDS) formed a Task Group (TG) on the Validation, Curation, and Management of Citizen Science and Crowdsourced Data. The objectives of the TG were to better understand the ecosystem of data-generating citizen science, crowdsourcing, and volunteered geographic information (hereafter ‘citizen science’ or simply ‘CS’) to characterize the potential and challenges of these developments for science. This blog post represents a summary of findings from the resulting open access journal article ‘Still in Need of Norms: The State of the Data in Citizen Science’. (READ MORE)

Robert R. Downs Promoting Proper Data Citation Practices

A 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. (READ MORE)

WDS Member Activities

Report Available for IODE 'International Data Sharing Workshop', Job Opportunity: IODE – OceanExpert Developer, + Other News...

The intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO Project Office for the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE; WDS Network Member) is looking for a consultant to further develop the current OceanExpert database, starting on 01 February 2021. Please send a written proposal to p.pissierssens[at] no later than Thursday, 07 January 2021 (23:00 CET). Please visit here to find more information.

The report of International data sharing workshop for non-UN IGOs, Global and Regional organizations and projects, NGOs and private sector held on 12 October is now available.
In other IODE-related news, the report of first session of steering group for second oceanTeacher global academy project, which was held on 5–7 October 2020 is now available. Also the indicator methodology tool, SDG 14.3.1 Data Portal, which IODE, international ocean acidification experts (including data managers), and the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network have supported the development is now freely available.

DANS logo Focus on FAIR: DANS 2021–2025 + Vacancy: Chief Technology Officer

In December 2020, DANS launched a new five-year programme 'Focus on FAIR: DANS 2021–2025'. Its new mission is unambiguous: to enhance the reusability of research data and thus the quality of scientific research. The use of FAIR data improves the verifiability and reproducibility of research. It also enhances efficiency because building datasets is expensive. What is more, linking data can lead to new discoveries and insights. Reusing and connecting data accelerates knowledge circulation and increases our ability to solve complex issues. You can find more details about DANS' programme on its website or in PDF format.

DANS is also looking for a Chief Technology Officer who will be a member of the three-headed board of directors, lead the DANS tech section and drive innovation. Interested? It is possible to apply for this position until 3 January 2021. This position is new and offers a lot of room for creativity. Please find the vacancy online. For more information please contact Henk Wals, director DANS.

New Member of WDS

Since the last Newsletter (October 2020), the WDS-SC has accredited one Regular Member:

Apply Now! Belmont Forum Executive Director

The Belmont Forum seeks an accomplished, inspiring, and strategic individual who is genuinely passionate about international cooperation on the ground and the opportunity to make a lasting impact on society. The Executive Director will lead the Secretariat to realize the vision, mission, and goals of the Belmont Forum. This is a 3-year appointment based in Montevideo, Uruguay at the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research Offices. Applications should be sent via email to EDSearch['at'] by 15 February 2021 (17:00 UTC).

Please see the official announcement for more details.

Future Events

Second Latin America and the Caribbean Scientific Data Management Workshop
10 February 2021 & 24 February 2021; Online
The Second Latin America and the Caribbean Scientific Data Management Workshop convened by the World Data System of the International Science Council (WDS), in collaboration with the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), and the RDA was due to take place in April 2020 at FAPESP. COVID-19 forced the postponement of the Workshop, and with the situation not improved, the organizer have now decided to organize a virtual Workshop of pre-recorded presentations and two online panels. More details, including on the online registration process, will follow soon.

Past Events & Outcomes

International Data Sharing Workshop for Non-UN IGOs, Global and Regional Organizations and Projects, NGOs and Private Sector /em>
2–6 November 2020; Online
See above for the official report from this Workshop. Rorie Edmunds (WDS Acting Executive Director) represented WDS in the Workshop and is a member of the Inter-Sessional Working Group to Propose a Strategy on Ocean Data and Information Stewardship for the UN Ocean Decade.

GEO Week 2020
2–6 November 2020; Online
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) held the 2020 version of its annual GEO Week entirely online. Focussed on the key priorities of boosting the digital economy, promoting sustainable development, supporting national Earth observation initiatives and highlighting approaches to open data, this week-long series of events engaged leaders from across the GEO community to share insights, lessons and advance policies and programmes that impact our planet. WDS is a Participating Organization of GEO and was represented at GEO Week 2020 by the WDS Acting Executive Director.

Third Polar to Global Online and Data Sharing Workshop/Hackathon
5 November 2020; Online
The third in the bi-monthly series of online workshops convened by the ADC, SCADM, SOOS, the Arctic Observing Summit Working Group 4, the Global Cryosphere Watch, and WDS behalf of the polar data community. The Workshop/Hackthons revolve around three Working Groups on Federated Search, Vocabularies and Semantics, and Policy. WDS is contributing to all three Working Groups through the WDS-IPO and WDS-ITO.

RDA Virtual Plenary Meeting 16
9–12 November 2020; Online
RDA's 16th Virtual Plenary Meeting (VP16) was co-organized by CONARE Costa Rica, RDA United States, and Research Data Canada under the theme 'Knowledge Ecology'. The Plenary included a breakout session by the RDA/WDS Certification of Digital Repositories Interest Group entited 'Towards Building a Trustworthy Repository Ecosystem'. The session looked at the impact to different stakeholders of the TRUST principles, how generalist repositories and technical respository service providers can be certified as trustworthy, and efforts to drive adoption of repository certification. The notes, slides, and all pre-recorded video presentations have now been uploaded to the Interest Group's page on the RDA website.

International FAIR Convergence Symposium
27 November–04 December 2020; Online
The International FAIR Convergence Symposium, convened by CODATA and GO FAIR, provided a forum for advancing international and cross-domain convergence around FAIR. It brought together a global data community with an interest in combining data across domains for a host of research issues—including major global challenges—with outcomes directly linked to the CODATA Decadal Programme and bottom-up developments towards the Internet of FAIR data and services. The Symposium included a session by the CODATA–WDS Task Group on Citizen Science for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) on 'Citizen Science Generated Data in Africa and Potential Contribution to SDGs'.