Paul Laughton: Candidacy for CODATA Executive Committee

Paul LaughtonThis is the fourth in the series of short statements from candidates in the forthcoming CODATA Elections. Paul Laughton is a new candidate seeking election to the CODATA Executive Committee, although he has been strongly involved with the CODATA Early Career Data Professionals Working Group. He is nominated by the South African CODATA National Committee.

“We are living in interesting times regarding the exploration of the potential of data intensive lives. There is so much to be done to enhance data in a meaningful way to improve everyday lives.”

Currently I am a senior lecturer at the Department of the University of Johannesburg at the Department of Information and Knowledge Management. My research interests include data duration and data policy. Through my work I have been exposed to some of the challenges and issues we are facing regarding the management of research data. I am the newly elected chair of the South African CODATA Committee, and I am passionate and insistent on taking up the challenge set out by those who served before me. I have been very actively involved with the CODATA “Young Scientists” or as we are referred to now as the “Early Career Data Professionals (ECDP)”, since Kiev CODATA conference in 2006 I have been working to improve the involvement of early career data professionals in CODATA.

I have had the privilege to work some great people in the CODATA community and I have learned a lot in a relatively short space of time (leaving room for so much more to learn). The South African National CODATA Committee have a strong strategic focus on leveraging research data to reduce the digital divide. We are focused on improving Pan African data sharing relationships as well as with other international institutions. South Africa faces some real landmark challenges with the development of infrastructure and systems to collect, process and store data from the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) telescope in the near future.

As a country on the African continent South Africa is very privileged and benefits greatly from the involvement with CODATA. As a chair of this committee we look to enhance the potential of research data, as we strive to make a difference in the scientific data community.

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