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November 2016


Membership news


International Data Week Attracts Over 800 Participants

International Data Week (IDW) 2016 took place on 11–17 September at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel in Denver, Colorado. Organized by the ICSU World Data System, the ICSU Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), and the Research Data Alliance (RDA), it brought together over 800 data scientists, researchers, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and data stewards through three complementary events under the theme From Big Data to Open Data – Mobilizing the Data Revolution.
  • SciDataCon 2016: Advancing the Frontiers of Data in Research
    This scientific research conference advanced the frontiers of data in research by addressing a range of fundamental and urgent issues around the ‘Data Revolution’ and the recent data-driven transformation of research; exploring the responses to these issues in the conduct of research.  
  • International Data Forum: From ‘Big Data’ to ‘Open Data’
    The centrepiece of IDW 2016, attracting the largest audience to hear from world-renowned keynote speakers about the major opportunities and challenges of the Data Revolution, and to collaborate to full exploit its national and international dimensions and its implications for research and policy.  
  • RDA Eighth Plenary Meeting
    See Past Events and Outcomes for details on WDS' involvement in this meeting, which offered attendees the opportunity to network with peers in various disciplines, and to make concrete progress in technical and social areas on topics related to research data sharing and exchange.
Videos of IDW 2016 and the final list of participants (CSV) can be found here and here, respectively.

2016 WDS Members' Forum Takes Place in Denver, Colorado

A full house at 2016 WDS Members' ForumApproximately 100 people, including 70 WDS Member Representatives, attended the 2016 WDS Members' Forum on Sunday, 11 September 2016 in Denver Colorado. This biennial WDS business meeting gave updates on the endeavours of the ICSU World Data System, including the new DSA–WDS Common Requirements for core certification of digital repositories, as well as information on opportunities to adopt the outputs of WDS Working Groups.

Interaction among participants and with the WDS Scientific Committee (WDS-SC) was paramount, and was facilitated by an extended poster presentation and help desk session, as well as a lively discussion on the sustainability of data services. We would like to express our thanks to all Member Representatives and guests who participated in the Forum—especially, those who gave oral and poster presentations.

15th Meeting of the WDS Scientific Committee

15th Meeting of the WDS-SC at Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel The 15th Meeting of the WDS-SC took place on 16–17 September 2016 at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel in Denver, Colorado. Co-located with IDW 2016, the WDS-SC took time during the Meeting to reflect back on SciDataCon 2016 and the 2016 WDS Members' Forum directly after the conclusion of these successful events.

The majority of the 15th Meeting explored the involvement of current and prospective Member Organizations in ICSU-WDS; in particular, how to increase recruitment of Members in under-represented regions and disciplinary areas and how to mobilize capacity. For the former, the WDS-SC made the decision to hold its future Meetings back-to-back with Workshops attended by invited representatives of specific communities.

A summary report of the Meeting is in preparation and will be placed on the Meeting Reports page when completed.

Scholarly Link Exchange Working Group endorsed by WDS

The Scholarly Link Exchange Working Group (Scholix) was endorsed by the WDS Scientific Committee on 25 October 2016. The group aims to enable a comprehensive global view of the links between scholarly literature and data by strengthening and hardening the outputs of the predecessor RDA–WDS Publishing Data Services WG which established a demonstrator service for data-literature interlinking and the Scholix interoperability framework. WDS Members discussed the Scholix framework at the Members Forum in view of contributing and adopting its recommendations.

Slides & Video from Webinar #10: An Introduction to the DSA–WDS Common Requirements

Ingrid DilloOn Wednesday, 31 August at 12:00 UTC, Ingrid Dillo (SC Vice-chair) gave An Introduction to the DSA–WDS Common Requirements in the 10th WDS Webinar. Since 2012, a Working Group has explored and developed a Partnership between ICSU-WDS and the Data Seal of Approval (DSA). Its outputs have been a set of Common Requirements for core certification of digital repositories that harmonizes the organizations' catalogues of criteria, and Common Procedures for their implementation. This new Certification Standard will be adopted by ICSU-WDS and DSA, and integrated into their tools and systems, before the end of 2016.

A video of the Webinar and the slides presented are now available through the Webinar #10 page.

WDS Scientific Committee Blog Entries

We are delighted to bring you the following two posts from Aude Chambodut and Guoqing Li; the next entries in the WDS Blog series by members of the WDS-SC.

Aude ChambodutA New Challenge: Building Multidisciplinary Distributed Research Data Infrastructures – EPOS - European Plate Observing System

A Blog post by Aude Chambodut (WDS-SC)
Researchers who specialize in a particular Earth Science discipline (seismology, geomagnetism, gravimetry, geochemistry, geology, etc.) cannot fully describe the history and crustal structure of a region of the globe using ONLY their specific research field. They often need to consult a large number of references and databases from other research domains. Interdisciplinary studies are still hampered by the necessity for researchers to document themselves effectively with many ‘external/foreign’ contributions, and to have colleagues in these fields who are willing to collaborate. (READ MORE)

Guoqing Li2016 SciDataCon-China: The Third China Scientific Data Conference

A Blog post by Guoqing Li (WDS-SC)
On 25–26 August of 2016—two weeks before SciDataCon 2016 took place in Denver, USA—the Third China Scientific Data Conference was held in Shanghai, China. As can be understood from its abbreviation of SciDataCon-China, this Chinese-speaking conference is the national-level platform for communication about scientific data; just as SciDataCon, hosted by ICSU’s World Data System (ICSU-WDS) and Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), is at the international level. (READ MORE)

ICSU Puts Out Two Calls for Reviewers


Peer-review of ICSU Report on SDG Interactions

ICSU is leading the preparation of a report on interactions across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be published in early 2017, and is looking for scientists with expertise spanning several SDGs to partially or fully peer-review the report between November 2016 and January 2017. Reviewers should have: (i) broad knowledge of the SDGs and understanding of the process that led to their definition; (ii) specific expertise in at least one of the SDG areas covered in the report (agriculture and nutrition, health, energy, oceans) and the interplay between the economic, social, and environmental dimensions within these. Individual SDG chapters are about 30 pages each. Reviewers will not be remunerated. Specific template and guidelines for review will be provided.

To register interest, please fill in this online form by Monday, 14 November 2016.

Scientific and Non-academic Reviewers for ICSU-supported Projects in Africa

ICSU—in partnership with the Network of African Science Academies and the International Social Science Council—will support 10 collaborative research projects across Africa in 2017 to ensure that science can effectively contribute to the implementation in Africa of the New Urban Agenda adopted during the Habitat III summit (17–20 October; Quito, Ecuador). ICSU is now looking for scientists and non-academic experts with expertise in energy systems, air pollution, health, provision of health services, climate mitigation and adaptation, land use and urban planning, and disaster risk reduction in the urban environment to review full proposals between November 2016 and mid-January 2017. Experience in inter- and trans-disciplinary research would be of value. Guidelines for review will be provided.

If you are interested or know relevant experts, please contact by Friday, 25 November 2016.

Programme Officer Gives Lecture at International Data Sharing Training Workshop

Group Photo of International Training WS Participants Dr Rorie Edmunds, WDS Programme Officer, was invited to give the final lecture to 17 young data scientists from 14 countries across Asia attending the International Training Workshop on Resources and Environmental Data Sharing Technology for the Silk Road Economic Belt (6–25 August 2016; Beijing, China).

This 20-day training course—hosted by the Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Science—was set in a multidisciplinary context, and aimed at providing technical training to help facilitate the building of resources, environments, and platforms for international data sharing.

WDS Annual Report 2015–16

The World Data System Annual Report, prepared by the International Programme Office and covering fiscal year 2015 (1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016), is available for download in high-resolution for print out (PDF; ~18 MB) or in low-resolution for online viewing (PDF; ~1.5 MB).

WDS Member Activities

ISRIC Logo ISRIC – WDC Soils Launches Virtual Soil Museum & Updates Global Soil Property Database

The World Soil Museum of ISRIC – World Soil Information (WDS Regular Member) can now be visited online; including storage objects normally off-limits to visitors. This museum houses a worldwide collection of reference soil profiles used to explain main soil forming factors and to show the importance of soil for ensuring food security and mitigating climate change, as well as their cultural value.

ISRIC has also released a major update of its global predictions of soil properties and classes. These are now available at a spatial resolution of 250 m, increasing the prediction accuracy of ISRIC's SoilGrids system up to two-fold compared with previously.

PANGAEA LogoPANGAEA Launches New Website and Functionalities

After more than 20 years of operation, PANGAEA (WDS Regular Member) has renewed its website——with new functionalities. Feedback on these functionalities is greatly appreciated.

Although many users liked the minimalistic Google-like interface of the PANGAEA website, it was decided to adopt more sophisticated techniques to enable better interactions with users, as well as making it more 'mobile friendly'. In particular, navigation into the data archive is improved and so-called drill downs are supported. The website now also allows login with ORCID IDs and links them to users' profiles such that data publications can be automatically assigned to an author's record. These functionalities required proper classification and additional annotation of metadata; a major accomplishment considering the long history and multidisciplinary data holdings of PANGAEA. There is still a lot to do and together with its partners, PANGAEA is working on improving ontologies and vocabularies.

GES DISC Project Manager Vacancy

Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC; WDS Regular Member) is seeking an experienced a Scientist or Computer Engineer specializing in data systems to serve as a Project Manager. The closing date for applications is Wednesday, 09 November 2016. More information on this position—including job requirements, duties, and how to apply—can be found here

New Members of ICSU-WDS

Since the last Newsletter in July, the WDS-SC has reviewed and accredited Five Regular Members:

Future Events

GEO-XIII Plenary Session

07–10 November 2016; St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Co-convened by the ICSU World Data System, the 1st Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Data Providers Workshop will be held prior the GEO-XIII Plenary in St. Petersburg, with the goals of establishing a two-way dialogue with data providers to improve the discoverability, accessibility, and usability of Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) resources.

The agenda includes WDS-related presentations on the benefits of certification to data providers by both Vasily Kopylov, a former WDS Scientific Committee member and Director of the Russian Research Institute of Hydrometeorological Information (host of WDS Regular Members: WDC - Meteorology, Obninsk and WDC - Oceanography, Obninsk), and Natalia Sergeyeva who is the Director of WDC - Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Moscow and WDC - Solid Earth Physics, Moscow.

This side event will help the GEO community to define its priorities and to shape the agenda of a more comprehensive event planned in early 2017, and all data providers already contributing to GEOSS—as well as new data providers, flagships and initiatives, and users—are invited to the Workshop, and are actively encouraged to participate to ensure that its key objectives are met. Register here.

WDS Webinar #11

07 December 2016 at 13: 00 UTC (To Be Confirmed)
Save the date! In the first of a short series of WDS Webinars planned around Health data, Michael Spedding (Secretary General of the International Union of Basic and Clinic Pharmacology [IUPHAR]) and his colleagues will (provisionally) give a talk on the development and extension of the IUPHAR/British Pharmacological Society database to include toxicological data. Exact information on the date, title, and synopsis will be shared on the WDS website and through our mailing lists once confirmed.

AGU Fall Meeting 2016

12–16 December 2016; San Francisco, USA
Now in its 49th year, the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences; attracting greater than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders from around the world for discussions of emerging trends and the latest research. The technical programme offers over 20,000 oral and poster presentations on new and cutting-edge science, much of which has not yet been published.

The following WDS-convened sessions have been accepted in the Earth and Space Science Informatics focus group at the 2016 AGU Fall Meeting:

Past Events & Outcomes

RDA 8th Plenary Meeting

15–17 September 2016; Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colorado, USA
We were involved in a number of sessions during the RDA 8th Plenary, in particular regarding publishing data, repositories certification and data fitness for use.
  • The joint RDA/WDS Certification of Digital Repositories Interest Group organized a breakout session titled Certification: Looking Ahead. The session provided updates on recent and relevant developments in the world of certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories and was followed by a panel discussion with customers needs and the future directions of work in the area of certification.
  • The joint RDA/WDS Publishing Data Services Working Group organized also a breakout session to prepare the ground for the second phase of this activity. The working group completed and established a demonstrator service for data-literature interlinking and an interoperability framework  dubbed Scholix. A charter for the new Working Group was endorsed by WDS and is pending endorsement by RDA. 
  • Finally, we contributed to the Birds of Feather session titled Data publishing: data usability certification services which addressed the concept of data fitness for use. The outcome of this meeting was to initiate an effort to establish an RDA/WDS Working Group on Assessment of Data Fitness for Use. Feedback is currently requested on the draft case statement.