Monthly Archives: November 2021

FAIR Data for Disaster Risk Research – Task Group renewal proposal

Bapon Fakhruddin and Li Guoqing, co-chairs

After four terms of study, the award winning FAIR Data for Disaster Risk Research (FAIR-DRR) has focused itself on addressing enabling technology (i.e. decision support system, rapid damage mapping, etc.), scientific questions, technical challenges, and best practices of disaster data standards and applications in risk assessment across disciplines, development partners and governments.  FAIR-DRR also developed a data ecosystem by integrated other networks to work collaboratively (i.e. IRDR of UNDRR, GEO-DRR, NASA DRR working group, SDG, Disaster Statistic etc.) and applied data for cross-domain studies.  These activities closely allied with the ISC’s Decadal Programme “Making data work for cross-domain grand challenges”.

FAIR-DRR is an increasingly important activity linking and ensuring coherence of major global milestones – the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), Paris Agreement for Climate Change and the New Urban Agenda (NUA)-Habitat III.

The experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic in the past year have made all disciplines keenly aware that solutions to complex and difficult problems require data to be readily assessable and actionable by machines using big data in combination with the most advanced hardware and software technologies. Our technology is advancing rapidly, however, our data systems are not able to achieve the same milestones. The fundamental enabler of data-driven science is an ecosystem of resources that enable data to be FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable) for humans and machines. This ecosystem must include effective, maximally automated stewardship of data, and effective terminologies,  metadata specifications and partnerships.

Following these works the Fifth term of the FAIR-DRR task group proposed the following objectives for the 2022-2023 term.

  • Volunteer Rapid Disaster Monitoring and Mapping in collaboration with Earth-GEO
  • Enhance interdisciplinary data integration using FAIR-DRR’s sequence, partnership with other networks and documenting good practices.
  • Engage with users and sectors for greater alignment and consistency of hazard definitions, standardisation of data loss quantification and risk assessment
  • Demonstrate transdisciplinary approaches linking climate scientists, engineers and sectoral professionals to identify future emerging and complex research using data
  • Capacity building using monthly newsletters, policy papers, conference, webinars and white papers.

In this video, Li Guoqing and Bapon Fakhruddin lay out the key activities and achievements of the Task Group in the past terms, detail their objectives for the next two years and invite participation in FAIR DRR.

Proposals of the Renewed Task Group “Advanced Mathematical Tools for Data-Driven Applied System Analysis”

Fred S. Roberts, Igor Sheremet Co-Chairs

Background: Resilience of Digitized Complex Systems
Today’s society has become dependent on complex systems, enabled by increased digitization of our world and the increasing availability of vast amounts of data, that have had a great impact on virtually all facets of our lives and our societies: enabling our financial transactions, running our power grid, underpinning our transportation systems, empowering our health care, supporting the rapid delivery of supplies and materials. Yet these changes have made us vulnerable to natural disasters, deliberate attacks, just plain errors. A challenge is to develop ways to make our complex systems more resilient. We propose to continue the work of the “Task Group Advanced Mathematical Tools for Data-Driven Applied System Analysis” to address this challenge through the development and refinement of a toolkit of advanced mathematical tools.

Mathematical Tools to Enhance Resilience
Modern technological and sociotechnological systems consist of numerous critical infrastructures that are strongly interconnected, which makes them vulnerable to multiple chain or cascading destructive impacts. Vast amounts of data need to be taken into account in understanding the performance of such infrastructures and their interconnections, and understanding how to make them resilient. Mathematical tools can assist with this and in particular the Task Group will study algorithms for responding to a disruption that will enhance resilience, i.e., minimize the departure from a previous state when things settle down after a disruption.

Mathematical Tools to Design Resilient Systems
In addition to helping us understand how to bring a system back to a normal state as rapidly as possible, mathematical methods can aid us in understanding how to design systems so as to make them more resilient in case of disruption. Modern complex systems may include millions of interconnected components (humans, devices, buildings, etc.), so to design a system with a predefined level of resiliency, it is necessary to represent in some formal way a system’s structure and logic of operation, and to develop an appropriate mathematical and algorithmic toolkit that can provide for efficient search for solutions over the extra-large volumes of data associated with digitized systems in today’s era of Big Data. This is a major goal of our proposed renewed Task Group.

The Task Group’s Approach
In the pages that follow, we describe the basic components of our approach. This consists of taking advantage of a multidisciplinary team, each bringing to the dialogue their own mathematical expertise and tools (whether it be graphs and networks, simulation tools, or the theory of algorithmic decision making), developing ways to share the tools, and studying how to relate them to an organizing component designed around a multiset-based (multigrammatical framework). Pilot software for components of the improved mathematical and knowledge engineering framework will be implemented in standard platforms and carefully documented. We also describe the connection to other Task Groups, to the CODATA Decadal Program, and the collaboration with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). The plans for the renewed Task Group are modeled after the successes of our first TG, namely webinars, a workshop, scientific papers, and a research monograph.

Read the full presentation

Task Group on Data from Participatory Mapping for the SDGs

By Carolynne Hultquist and Peter Elias

The overall objective of the Task Group on Data from Participatory Mapping for the SDGs is to study data on environmental changes generated by participatory mapping projects and platforms for the specific requirements of the Result Framework proposed by the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda. Namely we focus on indicators associated with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and other high-level policy frameworks, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the post-2020 biodiversity monitoring framework proposed by the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD). The alignment facilitates and encourages the inclusion of participatory mapping in the official monitoring of the SDGs and other policies at local, national, and global levels. Our group is particularly interested in evaluating the use of Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS) data for underrepresented groups in relation to global environmental challenges.

Participatory GIS provides a powerful methodology in which open spatial data are contributed and in turn, accessible web-based tools enable all stakeholders to track progress at a local, regional, or even global level. However, data generated by participatory mapping projects are not yet included in the official framework to monitor the SDGs, despite the abundant literature illustrating that citizens can contribute high-quality data. Work previously supported by the CODATA–WDS TG on Citizen Science and the Validation, Curation, and Management of Crowdsourced data illustrated a wide range of actual practices. Growing support for Citizen Science also exists under the UN, with UN Environment recently supporting the establishment of a Citizen Science Global Partnership (

The TG seeks to facilitate and encourage the use of participatory mapping and Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS) by envisaging a framework for evaluation and use that will facilitate the mapping of data to the specific requirements of the SDG framework. Participatory mapping is a sub-category of citizen science that involves spatial data while PGIS even more specifically involves user contributions and changes to spatial data being available in a public digital GIS environment. Surveying the platforms will provide visibility to participatory mapping data and their use in filling some of the official data gaps, while challenging the scientific community to identify targeted methods and data to tackle the remaining gaps. Sharing of ‘SDG-mapped’ data will produce benefits well beyond scientific results, strengthen the science-policy interface, and help amplify the societal impact of citizen science.

The activities of the TG will include the following tasks:

  • Survey of participatory mapping data use by national statistical offices (NSO), health, environment, and humanitarian organizations, government agencies, and community groups
  • Survey data practices of PGIS platforms/community science groups
  • Develop a framework for evaluation of participatory mapping and share lessons learned for effective practices for metadata, stewardship, validation, and management
  • Demonstrate the use of participatory mapping through case studies; e.g., underrepresented groups (slum, refugee, extreme poverty, isolated Pacific island communities) in relation to global challenges (e.g. health pandemic – COVID-19, climate change – flooding, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), biodiversity monitoring, etc.).
  • Explore possible ways to map existing and historic participatory mapping data to the indicators framework, including the possibility to propose new indicators inferred by the data and more relevant to people’s life and experience.
  • Explore the potential for data on human capital in volunteer activity from participatory mapping platforms; namely, data on the engagement of volunteers and subsequent learning/social/civic outcomes to support indicators. This incorporates issues of inclusiveness in monitoring and data collection, thus ensuring ‘leaving no one behind’.
  • Collaborate with UN statistical offices and other UN stakeholders to gather requirements and develop shared glossaries to support the inclusion of participatory mapping in the list of accepted ‘non-official’ data providers for the SDGs.
  • Work with the UN, including the UN Environment and Development Programmes,UN Habitat, and Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD), to continue to gain support for participatory mapping and strengthen the science–policy interface.

The outcomes of the above activities will include the study of concrete use cases that exemplifies the value of participatory mapping for a specific indicator by illustrating the creation and implementation of a participatory mapping project. The use cases will feature a complete ‘participatory mapping for SDGs’ cycle: identification of a data gap, design of the project, implementation, data collection, data analysis, and data sharing with UN officials. The final result in such an example could be a change in policy in the best-case scenario. The analysis of these use cases will help extract common practices and simple data policies that can be generalized to other projects and countries.

Daisy Selematsela: Candidacy for CODATA Executive Committee

This is the tenth in the series of short statements from candidates in the coming CODATA Elections at the General Assembly to be held on 15-16 November, 2021.  Daisy Selematsela is a candidate for the CODATA Executive Committee as an Ordinary Member. She was nominated by South Africa.

Daisy Selematsela has experience in the South African Higher Education sector and within the National System of Innovation (NSI). 

Daisy serves on a number of scientific bodies and also as an editorial board member of a number of journals and the Global Change Research Data Publishing and Repository and a reviewer of several programs.

She serves on a number of national boards and Advisory Councils. Internationally she is a former Board member of Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR). Serves as a member of Board of Directors of ORCID (represent EMEA – East Asia, Middle East and Africa) and Research4Life.

Daisy contributed to the ICSU and CODATA on a number of forums, contributed to position papers, co-ordinated workshops, chaired conference sessions and made numerous local and international presentations on areas related to CODATA objectives. She has served CODATA in the following areas:

Data Science Journal Review – corresponding Editor 2009

Served as ex-officio member of the South African National Committee for CODATA for 11 years.

World Data Centre on Biodiversity and Human Health prototype proposal and hosting;

Executive member: International Council for Science Union (ICSU SCID) ad Hoc Committee on Information and Data in 2007.

Chair: International Council for Science: Committee on Data for Science & Technology (ICSU: CODATA) Task Group on Data Sources for Sustainable Development in SADC 2007 -2011.

Executive member: (ICSU EDC Panel) International Science Union World Data Centre Panel2008.

Member: CODATA Task Group on Preservation of and Access to Scientific and Technical Data in/for/with Developing Countries. Co-chairs: CODATA – WDS joint subgroup 2011 to date.

CODATA Executive member from 2018 – 2021

Chairperson of South African National Committee for CODATA 2021 -2023

She was part of the Founding and Executive Members of the International Data Forum (IDF) 2007-2010. Instrumental in the formulation of Statement on Open Access for grant funding; Statement on ORCID ID and Predatory Publishing.

She holds a PhD in Information Science and is also Professor of Practice of Information and Knowledge Management of the University of Johannesburg.; a Fellow of the Higher Education Resource Service for Women in Higher Education (HERS) South Africa and Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia, USA. Acknowledged with the Knowledge Management Award in 2016 by the World Education Congress.

Objective of serving in CODATA Exco will enhance the positioning of global South open science and open data challenges and cement CODATA Decadal program in the region.

Ajit Kembhavi: Candidacy for CODATA Executive Committee

This is the eleventh in the series of short statements from candidates in the coming CODATA Elections at the General Assembly to be held on 15-16 November, 2021.  Ajit Kembhavi is a candidate for the CODATA Executive Committee as an Ordinary Member. He was nominated by India.

I am an astronomer.  I am an Emeritus Professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) located in Pune, India.  I am a Founder-Member of IUCAA  and was Director there during  2009-15.  I have had to use data extensively in my profession as an astronomer.  Going beyond that, I have led various national and international projects on data management, analysis and visualisation.  I have been associated with some important astronomy data centres in the world including the Centre for Astronomical Data (CDS) in Strasbourg France where I was a member of the Scientific Council for three years and its Chair for six years.  I have also been the Chairperson of the International Virtual Observatory Alliance.

As an astronomer I have worked in projects which involved large volumes of data, in the form of catalogues, images and spectra.   I have used data extensively from original observations  as well as archives, and have used a variety of sophisticated data processing packages over four decades.  I have myself  developed packages for morphological analysis of galaxy images, and over recent years I have extensively used AI techniques in the analysis.

A major data related project I have been working on is Virtual Observatories (VO).  The VO were set up in several countries around 20 years ago, and are federated in the International Virtual Observatory  Alliance (IVOA), whose aim is to make astronomical data in all forms freely accessible to the astronomical community in an interoperable manner, along with tools for dealing with all aspects of the data.  I led the Virtual Observatory – India (VOI) project which has made valuable contributions to the international effort.  I was for two years the  Chair of the IVOA.  Another major funded project that I led in recent years involved providing data related services, including preparing archives and tools for astronomers and astronomy projects in India and South Africa, including the Office for Astronomy for Development of the International Astronomical Union in Cape Town.  As Chair of the Scientific  Council of the Astronomical Data Centre (CDS) in Strasbourg, which is the leading provider of archived astronomical data in the world, I was extensively involved in setting policies and programmes, and monitoring actions of all data related activities of the CDS and its personnel. I have been involved with data management matters for the Thirty Meter telescope project and the LIGO-India project.

I am presently the Principal Investigator of a major  project called the Pune Knowledge Cluster (PKC) which brings together the academia, R&D organisations and industries to work on projects for the betterment of the city of Pune and its surrounding regions, with focus on projects in environment, health, sustainable mobility and capacity building.  All the projects are data driven.  One of the major projects we are engaged in is on COVID-19 data.  We have obtained patient and clinical data on over half a million infected persons from the Pune region, as well data from genome sequencing being carried out on about 50,000 samples from infected persons.  We are engaged in producing databases and providing tools, with the aim to move to a large epidemiological database on a  variety of infectious diseases.

I am presently the Chair of the National CODATA Committee, through which we are bringing together  the scientific and technical community, from diverse domains, involved in large scale use of data.  We are carrying out various activities, which we hope will become more varied and inclusive as the restriction imposed by the pandemic are eased and free movement becomes possible.  We have been organising periodic webinars by experts on a variety of data related topics .

Christine Kirkpatrick: Candidacy for CODATA Secretary General

This is the twelfth in the series of short statements from candidates in the coming CODATA Elections at the General Assembly to be held on 15-16 November, 2021.  Christine Kirkpatrick is a candidate for the position of CODATA Secretary General. She was nominated by the USA. 

My experience in research computing has included developing infrastructures including distributed storage at scale, and private and hybrid cloud environments, as well as leading or serving on research teams in the Geosciences, Life Sciences, and Social Sciences domains. I remember the moment that I became a data person: I was working with a group of research staff to test an event detection algorithm against a social media dataset. The results were promising, and we wanted to try it against similar datasets to measure improvement in the accuracy of the algorithm. We requested from a close collaborator the data associated with a recent paper and were told that the data was lost – and worse, the researcher was not that concerned as they had already published the paper. 

In my role as Division Director of Research Data Services for the San Diego Supercomputer Center, I see up close the struggle and promise of our current approaches to mine data out of vast and heterogeneous stores of bits. When I walk the rows of machines in the data center and survey the Petabytes of storage under our care, I wonder how many answers to the challenges we face as a society lay behind the blinking lights. If data was collected, annotated, and stored in a way that was easier to access, how much quicker could scientists contribute to the mysteries of our origins, and toward the harmony, equity, and wellness of all living things and our planet, as well as discoveries about what lies beyond our galaxy? Organizations like CODATA play a key role in the advancement of the mission to mine insights from existing and ever growing data. CODATA represents a multi-national and multi-sector community, providing a forum for global exchange and advancement of data-driven scientific inquiry.  CODATA serves as an important partner in the Data Together initiative co-hosting and co-leading initiatives with the World Data System (WDS), the Research Data Alliance (RDA), and GO FAIR. I will bring to the role of Secretary General a commitment to engage with the community, to seek mutual understanding of membership’s perspectives, and to be accessible to members to help and advocate for their needs.

Steven McEachern: Candidacy for CODATA Treasurer

This is the thirteenth in the series of short statements from candidates in the coming CODATA Elections at the General Assembly to be held on 15-16 November, 2021.  Steven McEachern is a candidate for the position of CODATA Treasurer. He was nominated by Australia. 

I am the Director of the Australian Data Archive at the Australian National University, where I am responsible for the operational, technical and strategic development of the data archive. I have been actively involved in development and application of survey research methodology and technologies over 15 years in the Australian university sector. Steve holds a PhD in industrial relations from Deakin University, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Management Information Systems from Deakin University, and a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours from Monash University. He has research interests in data management and archiving, community and social attitude surveys, organisational surveys, new data collection methods including web and mobile phone survey techniques, and reproducible research methods.

I have been involved in leadership roles in various professional associations in data archiving and data management over the last 10 years, including chair of the Executive Committee of the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI – During this period, I lead the negotiations for the Memorandum of Understanding between CODATA and the DDI Alliance, and reciprocal membership between DDI and CODATA, and have served as the DDI Alliance representative for the Alliance for their CODATA associate membership since we joined.

I have also had an active participation in the activities of CODATA over the past three years, with direct involvement of several of the strategic activities of CODATA. Since 2018, I have co-convened the “Interoperability of Metadata Standards in Cross-Domain Science” Dagstuhl workshop series. This workshop is directly contributing to the CODATA Decadal Program, specifically Theme 1 on Enabling Technologies and Good Practice for Data-Intensive Science. I have also been working to expand CODATA’s collaborations in the social sciences. This has lead to the establishment of the IUSSP/CODATA Scientific Panel on FAIR Vocabularies, of which I am a co-chair. I am seeking election to the CODATA Executive Committee to continue my contribution to the various strategic activities of CODATA, to expand the contribution of social sciences in the CODATA community, and of CODATA within Australian science and social science more generally.

Audrey Masizana: Candidacy for CODATA Executive Committee

This is the seventh in the series of short statements from candidates in the coming CODATA Elections at the General Assembly to be held on 15-16 November, 2021.  Audrey Masizana is a candidate for the CODATA Executive Committee as an Ordinary Member. She was nominated by Botswana.

Audrey Masizana is an immediate Head of Department of Computer Science at the University of Botswana. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from UMIST (2004) UK, MSc (Computer Science) (1998), Post Graduate Diploma in Advanced Computing (1997) from Oxford Brookes University UK and BSc (Hon) Mathematics Modelling and Computing (1994)from Kingston University UK. Her professional certifications include  

  • IBM Data Science Practitioner – Instructor Certificate. January 2021
  • Enterprise Design Thinking Practitioner, December 2020 
  • ERP Train the Trainer Certificate, SAP University Alliances Issued Dec 2014 
  • SAP (ESEFA) Train the Trainer Certificate , University of Cape Town Issued Jan 2014
  • SAP University Alliances ERP4Schoool Foundation Certification, UCT, Cape Town, 24 July 2013

She has over the years served at national bodies such as the National Cyber Security Strategy Development Committee (2016) and its new Implementation Committee (2021). She is a strong advocate of the adoption of Open Data Open Science Policies and Instruments. She is serving as a Deputy Chair of the National Committee on Open Data Open Science established in 2017 which has inspired current developments such as establishment of National Research and Education Network (NREN). She is very active in professional societies nationally, being a Fellow of Botswana Academy of Sciences (FBAS) and the current Chair of Computer Society of Botswana where she forged collaborations with societies of similar mandates regionally and internationally such as the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP). 

Audrey is passionate in interdisciplinary post graduate research around Scientific Application of Data for Intelligent Decision Making, for which she also conducts external examining for other universities. She is a seasoned publisher in conference and journal proceedings across the world for which she also serves in some of the editorial boards. She has made exceptional contributions to the promotion of science and technology by providing leadership in the establishment of fostered local and regional collaborative projects around Hi Performance Computing (HPC) & Data Science Research – covering the development and sharing of the compute and data research infrastructure, eHealth Research which engages Health Informatics, and Intelligent Systems Research which explores applications of Artificial Intelligence.

She has over the years gained enormous experience in spear heading academic networking platforms amongst chairing Local Organizing Committees of international conferences such as:

  • Visualization Technology Africa Conference in 2019, Gaborone, Botswana
  • 2nd International Data Week in 2018, Gaborone Botswana
  • International Association of Science and Technology Africa (IASTED Africa Series)  Conference in 2014 and 2016, Gaborone Botswana
  • The 1st, 3rd International Conference on Cyber Security and Information Systems ICICIS, 2016 and 2018, Gaborone Botswana

Audrey is a very patriotic and well networked African citizen. Of relevance to CODATA mandate, she has served as a member of the African Technical Advisory Committee which formed part of the first committee that established the African Open Science Platform in 2017. The initiative provided her with an opportunity to contribute to the development of the Africa Open Science Framework designed for continental adoption. She is also one of the innovators of the VizAfrica Network which was established as a spinoff project of the VizAfrica Conference in 2019 which was organized in collaboration with CODATA. It is designed to be a networked body of knowledge and expertise that nurtures a continual conversation on issues around Data Visualization theory, policy, technology and practice in Africa. She is also currently instrumental in promotion and maintaining of CODATA collaborative engagements in Botswana and very passionate to continue playing this role for the consortia within the African landscape, thus contributing towards the expansion and strengthening of the organization’s engagements beyond.