Monthly Archives: December 2023

FAIR Well 2023, and looking forward to 2024!

A message from Simon Hodson, Executive Director.

As is customary, before taking a break for the (northern hemisphere) mid-winter holidays and the New Year, I would like to highlight some of CODATA’s achievements in the year that is ending and look forward to activities in the coming year.  Highlights include the progress of the WorldFAIR project, an ambitious expansion of the International Data Policy Committee, a successful completion of the first phase of the Global Open Science Cloud initiative, and a Festival of Data at International Data Week.  The CODATA General Assembly elected a wonderful new President and Executive Committee, and approved an updated Strategic Plan which gives the organisation a strong sense of direction for the next four years.

WorldFAIR: ‘global cooperation on FAIR data policy and practice’

The WorldFAIR project has become the flagship for our Decadal Programme ‘Making Data Work for Global Grand Challenges’.  As coordinator of the project, and working with a fantastic consortium, we have been further refining a methodology and approach to advance implementation of the FAIR principles, and in particular those relating to interoperability and reusability, in a range of domain and cross-domain research areas.  

The WorldFAIR project was active at the March RDA Plenary in Gothenburg, at the EOSC Symposium in September, and at International Data Week in Salzburg in October.  It was also featured in the UNESCO-hosted event ‘Towards a FAIRer World’.  A series of webinars has been showcasing the work of the project and in particular that of the case studies.  You can access WorldFAIR deliverables from the website or our Zenodo collection.  As we head towards the end of the project, there will be a lot going on, so please do sign up to our newsletter!

One of the significant outputs will be the Cross-Domain Interoperability Framework, a set of practical recommendations for how to address the functional requirements to service FAIR data and metadata for cross-domain use.  The first draft module on ‘Discoverability’ is currently available for public review, and will be followed by modules on ‘Access’, ‘Integration’, ‘Controlled Vocabularies’, ‘Mappings’ and ‘Provenance’.  The CDIF development was considerably advanced by this year’s Dagstuhl Workshop ‘Defining a Core Metadata Framework for Cross-Domain Data Sharing and Reuse’.

Although the European Commission funded project will conclude at the end of May 2024, we are already exploring how to expand and sustain the initiative in the form of ‘WorldFAIR+’.  Thanks to a grant from the International Science Council, two further case studies relating to data in emergencies will be launched.  We are optimistic of adding a further case study in earth sciences as part of a collaboration with IUGS and Deeptime Digital Earth.  And discussions are ongoing with a number of partners, including ARDC, the Helmholtz Metadata Collaboration, CESSDA, KISTI and others.

FAIR Vocabularies in Population Research

Highly relevant to the work of the WorldFAIR project and to implementing the FAIR principles in different domains was the work of the joint IUSSP-CODATA Working Group on FAIR Vocabularies in Population Research.  Ably chaired by George Alter, and marshalling subject and technical expertise from a range of partners including UN Stats, OECD, SDMX and the DDI Alliance, the WG published its concluding report in June 2023.  FAIR Vocabularies in Population Research has been particularly well received and makes recommendations for SDMX, the DDI Alliance, IPUMS, as well as IUSSP and CODATA.  

International Data Policy Committee: data policy in times of crisis and expansion for a new challenge!

The topic of data policy for emergency situations has also been an important theme for the International Data Policy Committee (IDPC).  Hosted at UNESCO on 29 March, ‘Towards a FAIRer World’ examined the underlying ethical, human rights, and humanitarian frameworks needed to support data policy during crisis situations in an open science context, respecting the FAIR (data stewardship) and CARE (ethical) data governance principles.  This event led directly to the creation of a UNESCO and CODATA Working Group to develop contributions to the UNESCO Open Science Toolkit to assist with Data Policy for Times of Crisis.  The results, in the form of guidance, a checklist, and a factsheet, will be launched at the UN World Data Forum in Medellín, Colombia in November 2024.

Under the tireless leadership of Francis Crawley, the IDPC has undergone a transformation and renewal.  The IDPC’s new Action Plan identifies seven topics for action:

  1. Data policy for data quality, reliability, and integrity
  2. Data policy for science in crisis situations
  3. Data policy for education
  4. Data policy for AI
  5. Data policy for Open Science
  6. Data policy for the publication and communication of science
  7. Data policy for specific populations

To meet this ambitious agenda, a call was issued for new membership, and the IDPC has been considerably expanded.  It now comprises over 60 leading experts from over 30 countries.  Task Groups will be formed to address each of the topics.

Global Open Science Cloud Initiative

The International Symposium on Open Science Clouds, 4-6 September 2023 marked a successful conclusion to the first phase of the Global Open Science Clouds (GOSC) initiative, which rests on a strong partnership between CODATA and the GOSC International Programme Office, hosted at CNIC.  A significant community of cooperation has been created, with representatives from the major Open Science infrastructure initiatives around the world.  There is palpable enthusiasm for continuing the cooperation and there was general agreement that this should be the first of a series of similar events.  The GOSC Steering Group is now exploring the possibility of holding an ISOSC on the African continent in early 2025.

Advancing data science and the science of data

Marking 20 Years of the Data Science Journal, the CODATA DSJ published a collection of articles and essays exploring the history of data science and the relationship between data science and the science of data.

The CODATA Connect Early Career Working Group has continued its excellent work, completing a podcast series on Data for Disaster Risk Reduction, in partnership with the CODATA Task Group on FAIR Data for Disaster Risk Research, and launching a new one on Open Geo AI

Meanwhile, the CODATA-RDA Schools of Research Data Science had another successful year, running an in person school at the ICTP in Trieste and an online version in South Africa.  Both CODATA Connect and the CODATA-RDA SORDS have recently issued calls for new leadership and participants, so there will be exciting opportunities going forward.

A Festival of Data and a New Era for CODATA

The major conference of the year was the fourth International Data Week, in Salzburg, Austria, 23-26 October.  Combining the Research Data Alliance’s Plenary Meeting and SciDataCon, organised by CODATA and WDS, IDW 2023 attracted 834 participants (702 in person and 132 online) from 48 countries.  The feedback on the plenary sessions and the breakout sessions has been excellent.  

IDW was followed by the CODATA General Assembly, 27-28 October.  The GA elected Mercè Crosas as CODATA President.  Currently head of Computational Social Sciences at the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, Mercè brings to the role a remarkable range of experience from a career that spans astrophysics, biotech and software startups, social sciences, and Open Public Data.  A strong Executive Committee was elected, notable by considerably improved gender balance and a prominent representation from international scientific union.  Barend Mons bade FAIRwell, becoming Past President and saying that he was now ‘Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Retired’.

The General Assembly also approved five new Task Groups, three continuing Task Groups and one new Working Group.  Alongside the strategic activities described above, each of these groups will contribute to the updated strategic plan, which was approved by the GA.  To be launched in the new year, Making Data Work to Improve our World, the CODATA Strategic Plan 2023-2027 presents our vision of a world in which science is empowered to address universal challenges through the transparent, trustworthy and equitable use of data and information. The strategy describes four strategic priorities which CODATA will pursue in order to help realise this vision.  In sum, we need to make data work to improve our world.

Looking forward to 2024!

The transition from 2023 to 2024 is certainly one of dynamic change.  CODATA has new leadership and a renewed vision.  2024 will see the compilation of the WorldFAIR project and the launch of WorldFAIR+; we will embark on the next phase of the Global Open Science Cloud initiative; the new expanded International Data Policy Committee will pursue its action plan; and the new (and renewed) Task Groups and Working Groups will set about their activities. February will also see the launch of the Data Science Without Boundaries project in which CODATA is a partner.

Important events early in the year are The Road to FAIR and Equitable Science Workshop at the Lorenz Centre in Leiden, 22-26 January, celebrating 10 years of the FAIR principles, and the FAIR Digital Object Summit in Berlin, 20-21 March.  CODATA will once again be partnering with the DDI Alliance on two workshops at Schloss Dagstuhl, to advance work on the DDI-CDI standard and on the Cross-Domain Interoperability Framework.

The CODATA Executive Committee will meet in Barcelona in October, where our new president will also host a workshop on data and AI issues for computational social sciences.  The priority event for CODATA in 2024 will be the UN Data Forum in Medellín, Colombia, where we intend to showcase a number of contributions to help make data work for global grand challenges.

The FAIR well message by CODATA Past-President, Barend Mons

Five years flew by, including a pandemic that locked us in our corners of the world for quite some time. One of the fond memories I will keep from my CODATA presidency is how the staff and the Executive Committee stand together, both in times of joint progression and in times that were challenging due to natural and geopolitical disasters. 

Before I dive in some scientific and policy content, let me first express my gratitude to the exceptional staff of the CODATA Secretariat. Simon and Hana, who operate as a Formula 1 pit stop team in good and bad times, as well as Laura and Asha…

I can see only one flaw in the team (which I share myself and probably even aggravated): they work too hard! But – they also know how to enjoy the rare moments of relaxation we had. In short, the team made my period as CODATA President a great experience and I am very proud that I have worked with such an impactful global organisation. Not that they are totally rid of me now…

My successor Mercè Crosas inherits not only the team, but also an impressive Executive Committee. The ‘ExComm’ of CODATA plays a very important and active role, and I have experienced it as a uniquely motivated group of strongly networked professionals that enables the global impact of CODATA. Mercè will be the ideal President now as she is a bridge builder. In the coming decade CODATA needs to be more than ever a consolidator and a convener of like-minded data stewards, scientists, policy makers and increasingly also the private sector.

The two new Vice-Presidents, Daisy and Richard, who both were ExComm members during my presidency and in whom I built a lot of trust, will form a great team with Mercè, other Officers and the Secretariat. 

Let me now move on to some achievements of which CODATA can be proud and reflect a bit on its future. I’d like to start with the initiative taken by our previous Vice-President Jianhui Li, named ‘The Global Open Science Cloud (GOSC)’, aimed to be a mechanism for collaboration among the Open Science Cloud-type initiatives springing up all around the world. This is an activity that is clearly in CODATA’s mandate and mission, referenced in the International Science Council (ISC) Action Plan, and continuing CODATA’s longstanding engagement with Open Science platform initiatives in Africa, South East Asia and elsewhere, as well as our major contribution to the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. With the success of the first International Symposium on Open Science Clouds and the creation of an International Programme Office, GOSC is now a truly global initiative, where the leadership of regional open science initiatives collaborates towards global interoperability of data and services, one of the core aims of CODATA for the coming decade.

The second one is WorldFAIR. In collaboration with GO FAIR for the FAIR Implementation Profile methodology, and with RDA as a partner, this is a true ‘DataTogether’ project, but I want to applaud Simon and the team of CODATA for their leadership in this project. I sincerely hope that the intended expansion of the project to a multi-annual programme, provisionally called WorldFAIR+, will take the approach to a next level and optimally use the global networks and mandates of the participating organisations to contribute to global convergence and interoperability of data and services. 

Finally, we jointly started a professional outlet for what we now call FAIR Enabling Resources, ranging from vocabularies used and maintained by recognised expert communities, like those collaborating in GOSC and WorldFAIR. This innovative platform is called FAIRconnect and supports the global community of data stewards, organisations and funders that take FAIR seriously. FAIR is everywhere now, but implementing it properly requires a lot of skills, tooling and resources. FAIRconnect is meant to be the place where machines and people can find FAIR enabling resources that are increasingly qualified by the professional data stewardship community. 

CODATA, with its strong, growing and executed mandate of the International Science Council is set to play a leading role in the policies and practices around good data stewardship and data-intensive science and innovation. As Mercè stressed in her candidacy statement, CODATA should continue to collaborate well with the other international data organisations.  WDS, as the ISC affiliated body dealing with high-quality data repositories and also fully committed to the FAIR principles, will be a valuable sister organisation. RDA will continue its valuable grass roots role, addressing major data issues and CODATA will continue to collaborate with the RDA Secretariat, leadership and with many of the RDA WGs. GO FAIR will play its part in networking those organisations that align with the interpretation and implementation of the FAIR principles as they were originally conceived and adopted, including CODATA, its parent organisation (ISC) and its global networks. 

And again, I hope to be able to contribute to and support several of these exciting projects as the Past-President, without being in the way of the new leadership!

Disaster Risk Reduction and Open Data Newsletter: December 2023 Edition

The costs of shifting scenarios: Why the IPCC should maintain consistent vocabulary in climate assessments 
In this insightful article, Bapon Fakhruddin, esteemed hydro-meteorologist, and climate risk assessor, along with Jana Sillmann, distinguished geo-ecologist, warn about the negative impacts of the changing IPCC scenario terminology. Beyond transition costs, the terminology changes also harm the application of such scenarios in policy settings.

COP28 Water Pavilion launches official website, a hub for global
water solutions 

The COP28 Water for Climate Pavilion has unveiled its official website, providing a digital platform to showcase innovative solutions and facilitate international collaboration on water-related issues.

Community resilience is now at the center of modern model building
code development

The Building Seismic Safety Council’s Functional Recovery Planning Committee has published a report detailing the recommended scope, organization, and deliverables for developing functional recovery code provisions within the 2026 National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures.

Climate actions centered on Indigenous knowledge can improve resilience 
Climate change in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Islands worsens inequities and threatens unique island ecosystems. These are among the findings of the U.S. National Climate Assessment, released by the Biden Administration. The assessment concluded that adaptation actions centered on local and Indigenous knowledge can improve the resilience of Pacific Island communities.

Satellite data can help limit the dangers of windblown dust 
Dust storms present a growing threat to the health and safety of U.S. populations. A new model, powered by NASA and NOAA satellite data, provides important early warnings.

Floods pose significant risk to education and healthcare in Cambodia 
Seasonal flooding is the most common and frequent disaster in Cambodia. Major flooding events occur every five years and can be particularly devastating. In 2011, a flood affected more than 1,700,000 people, killed 250 people, and left 50,000 families homeless.  The impact of flooding on education and healthcare facilities is often overlooked, but these events can have severe long-term consequences on human capital and productivity.

How a small African island is fighting climate change impacts 
We had the privilege of talking with Bartolomeu Nascimento, a weathered 60-year-old fisher from Santa Catarina, a community in the western part of São Tomé Island. Through his tales, we saw the profound impact that climate change has had upon him and his coastal community.

The state of pre-arranged financing for disasters 2023 
This data-led report collates the best available data to start to assess and monitor annually the state of pre-arranged financing supported with international development financing in low-and middle-income countries.

Climate Change Roadmap Towards a Net-Zero and Resilient Future:
2023 Update

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has released a 2023 update of its climate change roadmap, “Towards a Net Zero and Resilient Future.” The roadmap outlines the Australian insurance industry’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2030 for operations and 2050 across the entire value chain.

Tourism Sector Disaster Recovery Framework Guide 
The main purpose of the ‘Tourism Sector Disaster Recovery Framework (DRF) Guide’ is to assist national and local governments, relevant private sector partners, intergovernmental organizations and implementing partners in developing a sectoral DRF, comprising effective and efficient recovery programs for the sector. It is to be read in conjunction with the DRF guide.

Resilient Cities Index 2023 
The Resilient Cities Index was developed by Economist Impact and supported by Tokio Marine Group. To help policymakers and stakeholders understand risk and design effective policies for urban resilience, Economist Impact developed a benchmark of 25 cities.

Understanding the compound risk of heat, humidity and air pollution on  
human health: A scoping review 

This scoping review searched five online databases – four for peer-reviewed literature (Medline, Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE), Scopus and Global Index Medicus (GIM)) as well as one grey literature site (ReliefWeb) – using prearranged keywords combining compound exposures of air pollution, extreme heat, humidity and a
health outcome.

Contingency planning process to enhance resilience against sand and dust storms in agriculture in the Islamic Republic of Iran 
This report outlines the conceptual framework for sand and dust storms (SDS) hazard risk and vulnerability assessment and mapping in agriculture and provides the elements as part of SDS contingency planning process in agriculture in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

COP28 (30 Nov- 12 Dec)
As the climate crisis worsens around the world, COP28 must be a decisive moment to act on climate commitments and limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Accelerating climate-resilient water management approaches through the circular economy (8 Dec)
This session will discuss the importance of climate resilient water management in the context of investing in circular economy to achieve sustainable water management for municipal, industrial, and agricultural users and the natural environment.

EFDRR Roadmap Action-Oriented Dialogue: Reducing Risk Together – Community Engagement in DRR (13 – 15 Dec)
This Action Oriented Dialogue (AOD) for accelerating the implementation of the regional EFDRR Roadmap 2021-2030 and Sendai Framework will focus on “Reducing Risk Together”, bringing together a diversity of stakeholders to improve resilience.

REGIONS2030 Final Event: Monitoring the SDGs in the EU Regions (5 Dec)
The REGIONS2030 project is a collaborative effort between the European Parliament, the European Commission and 10 pilot regions to co-design and develop an indicator set for monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at regional
level in Europe.

Multisector Dynamics: Extreme Weather, Compound Hazards, and Impacts
on Society (14 Dec)

Extreme weather events, including droughts, wildfires, heatwaves, floods, and cyclones, can have significant and diverse impacts on society and the environment. These impacts include economic losses, infrastructure damage, health issues, and loss of ecosystem services.

World Climate Summit – The Investment COP 2023, hosted by the World Climate Foundation (7 – 8 Dec)
As the largest C-level B2B convening alongside COP, World Climate Summit facilitates the exchange of best practices and innovations across vital sectors crucial to decarbonisation efforts in the areas of energy, transport, buildings, industry, finance and nature.

November 2023: Publications in the Data Science Journal

Title: Using OpenBIS as Virtual Research Environment: An ELN-LIMS Open-Source Database Tool as a Framework within the CRC 1411 Design of Particulate Products
Author:Fabian Plass, Silvan Englisch, Benjamin Apeleo Zubiri, Lukas Pflug, Erdmann Spiecker, Michael Stingl
Title: The Need for Data Policy in Times of Crisis An IDPC CODATA Report Following a Scientific Workshop Held on 22 October 2022 in Leiden, The Netherlands
Author: Burcak Basbug Erkan, Francis P. Crawley, Virginia Murray
Title: A Notion of Feature Importance by Decorrelation and Detection of Trends by Random Forest Regression
Author:Yannick Gerstorfer, Max Hahn-Klimroth, Lena Krieg