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July 2016

Boris Biskaborn Wins 2016 WDS Data Stewardship Award

Congratulations to Dr Boris Biskaborn, who was selected by the WDS Scientific Committee (WDS-SC) as the 2016 winner of the WDS Data Stewardship Award. This accolade highlights exceptional contributions to the improvement of scientific data stewardship by early career researchers through their engagement with the community, academic achievements, and innovations. Dr Biskaborn will be presented with the 2016 Award and a prize at SciDataCon 2016 alongside the 2015 Award winner, Yaxing Wei.

Dr Biskaborn is a geoscientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, and leads the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P). Upon learning of his win, Dr Biskaborn stated: 'I am very grateful and would like to say "thank you very much" on behalf of the entire GTN-P data management group. Sustainable achievements in data management, especially in a global network such as GTN-P, is only possible through team work, and we managed to reached the point we currently are together. In particular, we were bolstered by the high motivation of the team at the Arctic Portal in Akureyri, Iceland, and I would explicitly like to recognize Jean-Pierre Lanckman for his great dedication to the GTN-P data management system.'

Read Dr Biskaborn's bio.

RDA and ICSU-WDS Announce Scholix Framework for Linking Data and Literature

This new framework presents a vision and guidelines for linking research data and literature using a common, global approach.

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) and the International Council for Science – World Data System (ICSU-WDS) have announced a new global framework for linking publications and datasets. Termed SCHOLIX (Scholarly Link Exchange), the framework represents a set of aspirational principles and practical guidelines to support a global information ecosystem around links between scholarly literature and research data.

The framework aims for a seamless exchange of information about literature and related data, thereby facilitating reuse, reproducibility, and transparent evaluation of science.

Quick Checklist for IDW 2016

International Data Week (IDW) 2016 is almost upon us (11–17 September; Sheraton Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colorado). Here is a quick checklist for those of you attending the WDS Members' Forum, SciDataCon 2016, and beyond.

✔ Register

Online registration is open, with several packages to choose from, and an Early Bird rate available for those registering before 8 August (after which, the fees increase by $100). Register here!

✔ Reserve Accommodation

Rooms have been block-booked at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel at a discounted rate of 199 USD/night (+ 29.35 USD/night tax) until 26 August. Availability is limited, so please reserve your room as soon as possible. Book here!

✔ Organize Travel & Visa

It is advisable to organize your travel arrangements well in advance. In particular, please check if your country is part of the Visa Waiver Program, and so whether you are required to complete an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation form or to apply for a visa. For the latter, the IDW website allows you to request an invitation letter to support your visa application. Get invitation letter!

✔ Promote IDW

Please promote the WDS Members' Forum, SciDataCon 2016, and IDW through your networks, websites, and newsletters. If you require specific text, images, or other materials to assist with this. Please contact the WDS International Programme Office.

WDS-convened Session at AGU 2016 – Call for Papers

Paper contributions are invited for the session Publishing and Managing Data: The case for Trustworthy Digital Repositories accepted in the Earth and Space Science Informatics focus group at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) 2016 Fall Meeting. This session is expected to highlight the important role played by the WDS community in seizing the opportunities and addressing the challenges outlined in its description.

Abstracts can be submitted through the following link until 23:59 EDT on Wednesday, 3 August:

Session Conveners: Ingrid Dillo, WDS-SC Vice-chair (Data Archiving and Networked Services; WDS Regular Member); Robert Downs (CIESIN SEDAC; WDS Regular Member); Sandy Harrison, WDS-SC Chair (University of Reading); and Mustapha Mokrane, WDS Executive Director (WDS International Programme Office).

WDS Scientific Committee Blog Entries

Continuing our series of Blog entries by members of the WDS-SC, we are very pleased to draw your attention to the following three very interesting posts submitted to the WDS Blog by Wim Hugo, Arona Diedhiou, and Elaine Faustman over the period April–June 2016.

Yet Another Paradigm Shift…

A Blog post by Wim Hugo (WDS-SC)
At the recently completed European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016, I was one of the participants in a double session called "20 years of persistent identifiers – where do we go next?". Apart from reviewing the obvious elements, issues, and benefits of persistent identification—and agreeing on the success of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) Working Group on Data Citation and their excellent set of 14 guidelines for implementation—we also had a number of robust discussions; not least because Vienna was an airport too far for some of the presenters, leaving us with free time. (READ MORE)

Contribution to Long-term Environmental Monitoring

A Blog post by Arona Diedhiou (WDS-SC)
The world as a whole faces many more changes in its climate than it did in past decades. Such global changes have direct impacts on both the social and economic aspects of our lives (human activity), as well as on the environment. To comprehend the complexity of these phenomena and their effects on the aforementioned sectors requires in-depth investigations. To this end, environmental observations can supply information about past climates while providing benchmarks for comparison with future changes. The observations hence serve as a basis for assessing potential impacts and for planning adaptation measures and mitigation policies against them. (READ MORE)

Identifying the Birth Defect Epidemic for Zika Virus: Where Are the Relevant Databases?

A Blog post by Elaine Faustman (WDS-SC)
Hello! I am a Professor in a School of Public Health who directs an Institute in Risk Analyses and Risk Communication, and in that role I am frequently asked questions on current health risks. The recent Zika epidemic is a significant example of such a request, and provides an opportunity to illustrate use of databases to answer risk assessment questions for this emergent issue.

In risk assessment for Zika virus, we are interested in identifying specific health impacts—including potential birth defects—that may be associated with exposure. We are also interested in the potency of the virus, duration of infection, and whether the duration of the infection relates to the severity of the health impacts. In this post, we pose the question: what databases and data sources exist for us to examine this epidemic but also to be prepared for potential future epidemics? I share with you example databases that I used to answer these questions in a recent journal club. I have also included a series of comments and conclusions about the utility of these databases for risk assessment questions. (READ MORE)

WDS Member Activities

ASTER Data Made Freely Available by LP DAAC

On 1 April 2016, NASA's Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC; WDS Regular Member) began distributing ASTER Level 1 Precision Terrain Corrected Registered At-Sensor Radiance data products over the entire globe at no charge. Greater than 2.95 million scenes of archived ASTER data are now available for direct download through the LP DAAC Data Pool, and for search and download through NASA's Earthdata Search Client and US Geological Survey's GloVis. New scenes will be added as they are acquired and archived.

Learn more about ASTER data and the change in policy.

DSJ Special Issue – Open Data and African Research

This Special Issue of the Data Science Journal (DSJ) aims to explore how, why, and to what end scientists in developing countries—particularly those in sub-Sahara Africa—share and reuse data, and whether these activities differ from the priorities, practices, and policies associated with research in other conditions. Papers are sought that capture the challenges of conducting research in low-resourced environments, and the innovative ways in which scientists overcome these challenges to produce, disseminate, and use data (whether in digital or other formats). The full call for papers can be downloaded here.

Invitation of Submission of Abstract (500 words): 1 September 2016
Deadline for Submissions: 20 December 2016

DSJ is produced by the Committee on Data For Science and Technology (CODATA), and has a range of submission types. It speaks to broad audience, including researchers across the physical, life, and social sciences, and provides inexpensive Open Access publication options.

ICSU ROLAC – Science Officer Vacancy

ICSU's Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC) will move to a new host in San Salvador, El Salvador and is seeking a Science Officer to begin work in mid-August, 2016. Applications for the position must be sent by email by 29 July, with interviews to be held in the first two weeks of August.

To find out more about the responsibilities of the Science Officer, the profile sought, and how to apply, please consult the ICSU ROLAC website.

Future Events

WDS Members' Forum 2016

11 September 2016; Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colorado, USA
IDW 2016 will commence with the WDS Members' Forum. This one-day business meeting is open to anyone with an interest in ICSU-WDS. Prospective WDS Members are particularly welcomed, and they will have the opportunity to engage with the WDS-SC, as well as Representatives of many WDS Members. The Forum will consist of two parts: a Scientific Session where both the WDS-SC and WDS Members report on activities, and a Plenary Session that is a formal mechanism for membership consultation, and where membership issues can be discussed.

SciDataCon 2016

12–13 September 2016; Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colorado, USA
SciDataCon is the scientific research conference series convened biennially by ICSU-WDS and ICSU-CODATA. The 2016 conference is entitled Advancing the Frontiers of Data Science and Data Stewardship. The scope of SciDataCon 2016 is explicitly broad and inclusive, addressing all aspects of the role of data in research, and will feature scientific papers and posters from a wide range of perspectives.

International Data Forum

14 September 2016; Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colorado, USA
This event is the centrepiece of IDW 2016, bringing together international researchers, industrialists, policy makers, and educators to discuss the major opportunities and challenges of the data revolution. Attendees will hear from world-renowned keynote speakers and will collaborate on national and international dimensions of the data revolution; its implications for research and policy; and the linkages between research, industry, and education required for the global community to fully exploit new openings.

RDA 8th Plenary Meeting

15–17 September 2016; Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colorado, USA
The 8th RDA Plenary Meeting will offer attendees a unique opportunity to network and collaborate with colleagues in various disciplines, and make concrete progress in technical and social areas on topics related to research data sharing and exchange. As ever, the Plenary will be built around breakout meetings by RDA Interest and Working Groups, including the RDA–WDS Publishing Data and Certification Interest Groups.

15th Meeting of the WDS-SC

16–17 September 2016; Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colorado, USA
IDW 2016 will conclude with the WDS-SC convening for its 15th face-to-face meeting, which is co-located at the same venue.

Past Events & Outcomes

European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016

17–22 April 2016; Austria Center Vienna, Vienna, Austria
ICSU-WDS was represented at two sessions of the Earth & Space Science Informatics (ESSI) Programme Group:
  • Mustapha Mokrane (WDS Executive Director) gave an oral presentation entitled WDS/DSA Certification – International collaboration for a trustworthy research data infrastructure (abstract & presentation) at International cross-project collaboration and interoperability of data management systems (ESSI2.4).
  • Wim Hugo (WDS-SC Vice-chair) presented Implementing RDA Data Citation Recommendations: Case Study in South Africa (abstract) at the WDS co-organized 20 years of persistent identifiers – where do we go next? (ESSI2.6/GI1.6)

2016 GEO Work Programme Symposium

2–4 May 2016; WMO Building, Geneva, Switzerland
This key event discussed how the new Strategic Plan of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) should be implemented (programme & presentations). It was attended by Mustapha Mokrane, who reiterated WDS' offer to employ its certification in order to realize GEO's Data Management Principles. ICSU-WDS is now working with the GEO Secretariat to take this offer forward, and a side-event on certification is planned at the GEO-XII Plenary (9–10 November; St. Petersburg, Russia).

The Symposium also enabled GEO's recently appointed Programme Board—including Arona Diedhiou of the WDS-SC—to have a complete overview of GEO activities and to interact with its community.

Webinar #9: Big Data, Little Data, No Data – Who is in Charge of Data Quality?

10 May 2016
Christine Borgman and Andrea Scharnhorst explored the issues surrounding responsibilities for data quality in the 9th presentation in the WDS Webinar series. Data quality is a consideration throughout the research process, but questions on the extent to which responsibility for its assurance lies with the various stakeholders have neither simple nor generic answers. A video of the Webinar and the slides presented are available through the Webinar #9 page.

Japan Geoscience Union Meeting 2016

22–26 May 2016; Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan
Mustapha Mokrane presented on ICSU-WDS at the annual meeting of the Japan Geoscience Union, which brought together researchers across many different domains and from institutions worldwide for oral and poster presentations, and invited and specialist lectures in around 200 sessions.