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October 2020


Membership News


Call for Nominations: WDS Data Stewardship Award 2020

The Call for Nominations for the 2020 WDS Data Stewardship Award is now open until 30 October 2020. This annual prize celebrates the exceptional contributions of early career researchers (ECRs) to the improvement of scientific data stewardship through their (1) engagement with the community, (2) academic achievements, and (3) innovations.

  • WDS Data Stewardship Award 2020 (Word / PDF)

The winner for the 2020 Data Stewardship Award will be presented with their Award and a prize in plenary at SciDataCon 2021, part of International Data Week 2021 (8–11 November 2021; Seoul, South Korea)—alongside the 2019 Award winner, Dr Libby Liggins—with their attendance covered by the World Data System.

Nominations are open to any scientific organization, group, body, union, or otherwise. If you know of an ECR who deserves to have their accomplishments recognized and highlighted to the international community, then please be sure to complete the above form (see notes here), and send it to the WDS International Programme Office ( no later than 23:59 UTC on Friday, 30 October 2020.

Please disseminate this information far-and-wide.

2020 WDS Members' Forum: Videos & Slides Now Available

The 2020 WDS Members' Forum took place online at 12:00–15:00 UTC on Wednesday, 23 September as part of the WDS-supported international symposium ‘Global Collaboration on Data Beyond Disciplines’ (23–25 September 2020). This virtual event, which incorporated the biennial WDS business meeting was open to both Representatives of WDS Member Organizations and general participants having an interest in the endeavours of WDS. In this regard, the Forum attracted around 240 registrants, including almost 100 WDS Member Representatives.

The Forum Agenda was split into two Sessions:
  1. A Scientific Session primarily focussed on hearing from WDS Members, who were requested in advance to pre-recorded lightning talks of up to three minutes in length covering their organization’s main priorities over the next five years and how WDS can assist in realizing these goals. Presenters of the lightning talks were selected to be part of short panel discussions addressing the major issues coming out of the talks.
  2. A Plenary Session in which four topics were discussed with the community. WDS presented its activities related to technology and the new Data Together initiative. It also proposed a new mentoring programme for Candidate Member repositories. Finally, time was allocated to a discussion of the growing role in the global data ecosystem of generalist repositories.
More information on the Forum, including links to the presentations and the list of Forum participants, can be found here.

We are also pleased to announce that videos of the 2020 WDS Members' Forum and pre-recorded lightning talks submitted by WDS Members are now available on the WDS YouTube channel for everyone to view and as a permanent resource. We strongly encourage people to look through the WDS Members' lightning talks, they really are impressive! They are of very high quality and contain a wealth of information. We hope you find them of interest.

International Data Week 2021: Data to Improve our World (8–11 Nov 2021; Seoul)

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, innovation, and economic growth.

We are now capable of producing and analyzing enormous quantities of data: in principle, everything in the universe in which we are living can be represented by data. As a result there is a growing emphasis on data: the development of a science of data, of data infrastructures and important debates over how data is governed and managed. With education, regulation and the necessary infrastructures and processes, data can be used to improve our lives and the world around us.

Open Science and the FAIR Principles are important enablers of discovery and innovation, particularly the use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. In 2021, will likely see the adoption by UNESCO of a landmark recommendation on Open Science recognizing its importance to help us to address the major global challenges faced by our societies. Access to trustworthy and FAIR data is a precondition to the science needed to enable us to reduce the impact of diseases, mitigate climate change, and become more resilient to risks posed by natural and human-made disasters.

It is in the above spirit that International Data Week 2021 is convened under the overarching theme of ‘Data to Improve Our World’. In addition to highlighting the need for data education and governance, demonstrating the importance of high-quality research data stewardship, data science, and data infrastructures, and exploring the ‘state of the art’ in all things data, IDW 2021 will also emphasize the following subthemes:

  • Research Transparency and Reproducibility
  • Data, Research, and Industry: The Interface between Data-intensive Research and Innovation
  • Empowering and Enabling Society: Data (Science) Education and Data Literacy
  • Transdisciplinary Research and Citizen Science
Please see more information here.

Joint Response Released to UNESCO Global Consultations on Open Science

Earlier this year UNESCO launched a Global Consultation on Open Science with a view to developing a standard-setting instrument in the form of a Recommendation, to be adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in November 2021. WDS was invited to contribute to this process, and to provide inputs both as an organization, and from the WDS community of experts worldwide.

The first step of the UNESCO process was an online consulation with stakeholders through a survey designed to collect inputs for the development of the Recommendation on Open Science. A joint response to the survey—Open Science for a Global Transformation—was prepared by an expert group including representatives from WDS, ISC Committee on Data (CODATA; WDS Associate Member), Global Open FAIR (GO FAIR), and the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (WDS Associate Member). It was submitted to UNESCO on 15 June and, following minor editorial adjustments, is now published here:

The expert group is now preparing an essay for the Data Science Journal, to present the ‘Open Science for a Global Transformation’ to the wider community and to call for further discussion and input.

SAVE THE DATE! International Data Week 2023: A Festival of Data (23–26 October 2023; Salzburg, Austria)

Image © Salzburg Tourismus The International Science Council’s Committee on Data (CODATA) and World Data System (WDS), and the Research Data Alliance (RDA) are delighted to announce International Data Week 2023: A Festival of Data, taking place on 23–26 October 2023, in Salzburg, Austria.

IDW 2023 will be hosted by the University of Salzburg through its interdisciplinary Data Science group and the Geoinformatics department, supported by the Governor of Salzburg, and with assistance from the Austrian Academy of Sciences - GIScience and the European Umbrella Organization for Geographic Information.

This event will be an inclusive and celebratory Festival of Data, with in-person and virtual components, highlighting the opportunities for the positive transformation of our world in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and other global challenges. It will combine the RDA Plenary Meeting, the biannual meeting of this international member organization working to develop and support global infrastructure facilitating data sharing and reuse; and SciDataCon 2023, the scientific conference addressing the frontiers of data in research organized by CODATA and WDS.

International Data Week is organized by:      IDW 2023 is hosted by:
International Data Week is organized by: IDW 2023 is hosted by:

WDS-ECR Network Welcomes New Co-chairs

Maja Dolinar (left), Xia Si (Jesse) Zhe (center), and Lianchong Zhang (right) On 1 July 2020, Maja Dolinar (University of Ljubljana), Xia Si (Jesse) Zhe (The University of Hong Kong), and Lianchong Zhang (Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences) became the new Co-chairs of the WDS Early Career Researcher and Scientist Network (WDS-ECR Network) for the period 2020–2023. Lianchong has also replaced Sabrina Delgado Arias (Science Systems and Applications, Inc./NASA GSFC) as the WDS-ECR Network Representative on the WDS-SC.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the outgoing Co-chairs, Sabrina and Alice Frémand (British Antarctic Survey)—as well as to Ivan Pyshnograiev (Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute) who stepped down in 2019—for their huge efforts over the last three years in establishing the WDS-ECR Network and making it such a great success. Sabrina and Alice have agreed to be part of a newly formed Advisory Board alongside Agneta Ghose (Aalborg University), and will assist the Network Co-chairs over the next year to ensure their experience and knowledge is passed on.

WDS Blog Post

The following WDS Blog post is from Seiya Terada, who worled for the WDS International Technology Office (WDS-ITO) as a Co-op student.

 Seiya Terada

My Experiences Working at the WDS-ITO

A Blog post by Seiya Terada (WDS-ITO Co-op Student)

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work as a co-op student at the World Data System – International Technology Office (WDS-ITO). The skills I developed and the experience that I gained from this 8-month work term were not something that I could learn in school, only from being in a professional working environment. (READ MORE)

WDS Member Activities

SEDAC logo New Dataset and Publication from SEDAC + Update to SEDAC Global COVID-19 Viewer

The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC; WDS Regular Member) has announced the release of the Food Insecurity Hotspots Dataset. This dataset consists of gridded data identifying the level of intensity and frequency of food insecurity over ten years between 2009 and 2019, as well as hotspots of consecutive food insecurity events, for five regions: Central America and the Caribbean, Central Asia, East Africa, Southern Africa, and West Africa.
A new publication 'Using Disaster Outcomes to Validate Components of Social Vulnerability to Floods: Flood Deaths and Property Damage across the USA' has been published in a special issue of the journal Sustainability. The authors are Beth Tellman, Cody Schank, Bessie Schwarz, Peter Howe, and Alex de Sherbinin (Chair of the WDS Science Committee) at SEDAC. This special issue was guest-edited by Alex de Sherbinin and Stefan Kienberger, and comprises of 13 articles on the topic of climate risk and vulnerability mapping.
The most recent update to the Global COVID-19 Viewer developed by SEDAC provides enhanced capabilities to visualize pandemic data and identify at-risk populations, via daily and 7-day trend charts, additional subnational data, and user-friendly mapping tools that let users define a custom area or focus on a location of interest.
In other SEDAC-related news, online training modules in English and Spanish on the fundamentals of spatial data integration for demographers have been released by the Population-Environment Research Network hosted by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (SEDAC's host organization). The modules include video tutorials that draw on pre-packaged data and open source geographic information system and Web-based tools.

IODE: 4th OBPS Workshop Makes Recommendations

The International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE; WDS Network Member), Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, held the 4th community workshop of the IOC Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS) as an online event, spread over two weeks and comprising plenary sessions, breakout groups, and parallel working groups. A record 452 participants from across the globe participated with a single objective: to facilitate community-led evolution of methods into best practices in ocean observations and applications. The workshop included 11 thematic working groups that addressed both cross-cutting themes and strategies for best practice development within specific communities.
The recommendations of the Workshop—both for the OBPS and for the communities which participated in the working groups—will be submitted to the IOC Steering Group for the Ocean Best Practices System (SG-OBPS) at its Second Session (19–22 October 2020; online). A workshop proceedings will be issued before the end of the year. 
Please visit here for more information.

New Members of WDS

Since the last Newsletter (June 2020), the WDS-SC has accredited three Regular Members:

Call for Nominations for New ISC Awards Programme

The President of the International Science Council (ISC), Professor Daya Reddy, has announced the launch of a new ISC Awards Programme. The Programme recognizes individuals, groups, and initiatives launched by the ISC and its members that serve to advance science as a global public good.  

Science for Sustainability Award (one award)
  • Science for Policy (one award)
  • Policy for Science (one award)
  • Scientific Freedom and Responsibility (one award)
  • Early Career Scientist Award (six awards from each of the geographic regions of (i) Africa, (ii) Asia, (iii) Australia and Oceania, (iv) Europe, (v) North America, and (vi) South America and the Caribbean)
  • online form. Details of the nomination and selection process can be found here.

    For more information, please visit the ISC website.

    Final Version Published of RDA COVID-19 Recommendations and Guidelines on Data Sharing

    Data together

    In late March, as part of the Data Together COVID-19 Appeal and Actions, RDA was requested to create global guidelines and recommendations for data sharing under COVID-19 circumstances. Over 600 data professionals and domain experts signed up and began work in early April 2020. On 30 June 2020, RDA published the final version of the RDA COVID-19 Recommendations and Guidelines on data sharing covering four research areas—clinical data, omics practices, epidemiology, and social sciences—complimented by overarching areas focussing on legal and ethical considerations, research software, community participation, and indigenous data.

    Webinar – Update on Certification of Specialists, Generalists, and Technical Repository Service Providers Position Paper

    A webinar took place on 7 October, hosted by the World Data System of the International Science Council on behalf of the RDA/WDS Certification IG and CoreTrustSeal, and was a follow up to the recent request for feedback on a position paper developed by CoreTrustSeal concerning how generalist repositories and organizations providing technical infrastructure and services to repositories might be appropriately recognized as trustworthy components of the research data ecosystem.

    The webinar was the next step in CoreTrustSeal's community engagements on subjects of strategic importance, and contained both preliminary results of the analysis, as well as outlining remaining open questions.

    A recording and slides of the webinar are available here.

    Future Events

    GEO Week 2020
    2–6 November 2020; Online
    The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) will hold 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 will engage 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 will be represented at GEO Week 2020 by Rorie Edmunds (WDS Acting Executive Director).

    Third Polar to Global Online and Data Sharing Workshop/Hackathon
    5 November 2020; Online
    During the Third Polar Data Forum (PDF III), members of the Polar Data Community gathered to share information and knowledge and to make practical progress towards greater data sharing and interoperability. This is a planned 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 on behalf of the polar data community. The first Polar to Global Online Interoperability and Data Sharing Workshop/Hackathon was held on 30 June, followed by the second one on 02 September. Information on the Third Workshop may be found here.

    RDA Virtual Plenary Meeting 16
    9–12 November 2020; Online
    RDA's 16th Virtual Plenary Meeting (VP16) is co-organized by CONARE Costa Rica, RDA United States, and Research Data Canada under the theme 'Knowledge Ecology'. RDA's 16th Virtual Plenary Meeting includes a breakout session by the RDA/WDS Certification of Digital Repositories Interest Group at 00:00–01:30 UTC on Wednesday, 11 November. Entited 'Towards building a trustworthy repository ecosystem', the session wil look at the impact of the recently released TRUST principles, how they are viewed by generalist repositories and technical respository service providers in supporting their missions, and the successes and challenges in driving adoption of available repository certification processes.

    International FAIR Convergence Symposium
    30 November–04 December 2020; Online
    The International FAIR Convergence Symposium is convened by CODATA and GO FAIR. It will provide a forum for advancing international and cross-domain convergence around FAIR, and bring together a global data community with an interest in combining data across domains for a host of research issues—including major global challenges, such as those relating to the Sustainable Development Goals or the COVID-19 pandemic. Outcomes will directly link to the CODATA Decadal Programme ‘Data for the Planet: making data work for cross-domain grand challenges’ and to the bottom-up developments of the GO FAIR community towards the Internet of FAIR data and services.

    2020 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union
    1–17 December 2020; Online
    The 2020 Fall Meeting of American Geophysical Union (AGU) will be held on 1–17 December 2020 online to accommodate over a thousand hours of virtual content to minimize conflicts while maximizing global engagement. WDS is co-convening the following three-part session at the AGU 2020 Fall Meeting, which focusses on the trustworthy capabilities and services worldwide that enable sharing and long-term use of Open Data in all scientific disciplines. This session is under Earth and Space Science Informatics section/focus group.

    Past Events & Outcomes

    JpGU–AGU Joint Meeting 2020
    12–16 July 2020; Online
    The Japan Geoscience Union (JpGU) and American Geophysical Union (AGU) hosted a joint meeting to highlight the 30th anniversary of JpGU and follow on from AGU's centennial celebration. Rorie Edmunds, WDS Acting Executive Director, attended and presented on WDS and the CoreTrustSeal in the session 'Open Science in Progress: Data Sharing, e-Infrastructure, and Transparency in International Contexts'.

    CODATA Virtual General Assembly
    25 July 2020; Online
    CODATA convened a Virtual General Assembly (VGA) on 25 June 2020 at 11:00–13:00 UTC. The primary purpose of this Extraordinary VGA was for CODATA membership to vote on the recommendation that a full, in-person General Assembly, originally scheduled for 24 October 2020, be postponed such that it is held alongside International Data Week 2021. There was unanimous approval of the recommendation to postpone the General Assembly and to approve the necessary extensions to terms (for Executive Committee members, Officers, and Task Groups) concomitant to that extension. WDS is ISC Body member of CODATA and was represented at the VGA by the WDS Acting Executive Director.

    International Symposium: Global Collaboration on Data Beyond Disciplines (+ WDS-IPO 10th Anniversary)
    23–25 September 2020; Online
    This online symposium commemorated the WDS-IPO's 10th Anniversary. Its goal was to build consensus on various aspects of Research Data Management by all stakeholders in alignment with Open Research policies and initiatives. It explored new paths for activities significant in promoting interdisciplinary and collaborative research and data reuse under different scientific disciplines based on evidence and feedback from data communities. Several sessions were led by WDS, including the 2020 WDS Members' Forum (see above), a joint session on Persistent Identifiers with ORCID (WDS Partner Member), and a forum for Early Career Researchers and Scientists (ECRs) in the Asia–Oceania region led by the WDS-ECR Network. Articles on the WDS-IPO 10th Anniversary and joint ORCID–WDS session will be added to the WDS website shortly.

    International Data Sharing Workshop for Non-UN IGOs, Global and Regional Organizations and Projects, NGOs and Private Sector
    12 October 2020; Online
    The International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE; WDS Network Member) held the International Data Sharing Workshop for Non-UN IGOs, Global and Regional Organizations and Projects, NGOs and Private Sector online on 12 October. The objective of the workshop was to 1) seek and share information on ocean data and information that is collected/managed/made available by participating organizations/companies/stakeholders, and 2) discuss ways and means to improve the sharing of such data and information as a contribution to the objectives of the UN Ocean Decade. WDS is a Partner Organization of IODE and was represented by Rorie Edmunds at the Workshop. Please visit here for the report and here for all documents, presentations, and video recordings.

    23rd Meeting of the WDS Scientific Committee
    13–15 October 2020; Online
    With continued travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WDS-SC took the decision that its 23rd Meeting, the second biannual meeting of 2020, would be held via teleconference over the course of three consecutive days. More information about the outcomes on Meeting will be added to the WDS website soon.

    Virtual UN World Data Forum 2020
    19–21 October 2020; Online
    The United Nations (UN) World Data Forum brought together data and statistical experts and users from governments, civil society, the private sector, donor and philanthropic bodies, international and regional agencies, the geospatial community, the media, academia, and professional bodies. Data experts and users gathered to spur data innovation, mobilize high-level political and financial support for data, and built a pathway to better data for sustainable development. The Virtual UN World Data Forum 2020 was attended by the WDS Acting Executive Director.