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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!

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.

December 2020: Publications in the Data Science Journal

Investigation and Development of the Workflow to Clarify Conditions of Use for Research Data Publishing in Japan
Author: Yasuyuki Minamiyama, Ui Ikeuchi, Kunihiko Ueshima, Nobuya Okayama, Hideaki Takeda

Open Data Challenges in Climate Science
Author: Francesca Eggleton, Kate Winfield

Historical Scientific Analog Data: Life Sciences Faculty’s Perspectives on Management, Reuse and Preservation
Author: Shannon L. Farrell, Lois G. Hendrickson, Kristen L. Mastel , Julia A. Kelly

Incorporating RDA Outputs in the Design of a European Research Infrastructure for Natural Science Collections
Author: Sharif Islam , Alex Hardisty, Wouter Addink, Claus Weiland, Falko Glöckler

Implementing the RDA Research Data Policy Framework in Slovenian Scientific Journals
Author: Janez Štebe , Maja Dolinar, Sonja Bezjak, Ana Inkret

Role of a Croatian National Repository Infrastructure in Promotion and Support of Research Data Management
Author: Kristina Posavec , Draženko Celjak, Ljiljana Jertec Musap

39 Hints to Facilitate the Use of Semantics for Data on Agriculture and Nutrition
Author: Caterina Caracciolo , Sophie Aubin, Clement Jonquet, Emna Amdouni, Romain David, Leyla Garcia, Brandon Whitehead, Catherine Roussey, Armando Stellato, Ferdinando Villa

Going Digital: Persistent Identifiers for Research Samples, Resources and Instruments
Author: Esther Plomp

Open Science for a Global Transformation: Call for Papers for a Special Collection in Data Science Journal

2021 is likely to be a very significant year for the transformation of science and the adoption of Open Science and FAIR practices.  UNESCO, the educational, scientific and cultural organization of the United Nations, is preparing a Recommendation on Open Science to be adopted (it is hoped) by the UNESCO General Assembly in November 2021.  Against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic—which has accentuated the need for international research cooperation, scientific transparency and data sharing for robust evidence and informed decisionmaking—UNESCO has conducted a global consultation and drafting process for the Recommendation on Open Science.

In June 2020, CODATA coordinated and published ‘Open Science for a Global Transformation’, a response to the UNESCO consultation from a number of partner international data organisations. The first draft of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science was released for feedback from member states and the scientific community in early October 2020.  

To encourage further discussion around the issues addressed in ‘Open Science for a Global Transformation’ and the draft Recommendation on Open Science, we invite the global research data community to share their views, critiques and positions in an open discussion prompted by the draft recommendation and the CODATA-coordinated document.  Our intention is to create a forum for debate and ultimately a body of reasoned argumentation which can be referenced throughout the UNESCO process.  In the Data Science Journal, this will also form a significant body of scholarly material exploring and defining issues around Open Science. 

Three venues are envisaged for this discussion:

We invite scholarly essays, review articles, practice papers and research articles that discuss issues around Open Science and relate their argumentation to topics addressed in ‘Open Science for a Global Transformation’ and in the draft UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.  Please consult the scope of the Data Science Journal and the descriptions of the categories of article.  All submissions should be scholarly and will be peer reviewed.  While ensuring quality and rigour, the editorial team will do its best to expedite publication.  The collection will serve as a scholarly contribution to the global debate on the content of the UNESCO Recommendation and on the contours and characteristics of Open Science in general.  We will aim to ensure that any articles submitted by 15 December, will be published in time to be referenced during the timescales of the UNESCO review process (see below).  Accepted articles submitted after that date will be included in the collection on Open Science and will still be relevant to the ongoing discussion and debate around the Recommendation.  Submit contributions to the Special Collection at 

If you would like to contribute to this discussion through something more like a blog post, and opinion piece, or if you would like to test your ideas before submitting an more scholarly contribution to the Data Science Journal, then you can do this through a curated collection on the CODATA blog.  To do so, please send your piece to  The proposed blog posted will be checked by the CODATA secretariat and a member of the author group and then published.

  • Threads on the CODATA International List

Finally, we also encourage the community to share ideas and discussion of the draft Recommendation through the CODATA International news and discussion list.  Simply subscribe to the list and send your ideas and views to  Be sure to start the title of your message with ‘UNESCO Open Science Recommendation’.

We welcome any and all contributions to these forums!

The UNESCO Consultation and Recommendation on Open Science

The practices of Open Science and calls for transformations of the way science is practiced, communicated and assessed have accelerated in the past two decades.  Leading transnational organisations including the International Council for Science, OECD and European Commission, have recognised Open Science as the key mode for research in the 21st century.  Recognising the significance of the movement, but also aware that in a ‘fragmented scientific and policy environment, a global understanding of the meaning, opportunities and challenges of Open Science is still missing’, UNESCO launched a global consultation in March 2020.  This has as its objective ‘to build a coherent vision of Open Science and a shared set of overarching principles and shared values’ through the development of ‘an international standard-setting instrument on Open Science in the form of a UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science’ to be agreed at the UNESCO General Assembly in November 2021.

This is a precious opportunity for the worldwide research community to express priorities, report relevant experiences, and share visions for the future, thus helping to shape a new global order for research and its governance. A UNESCO Recommendation is a timely, important and urgent way to promote Open Science and provide concrete suggestions to national governments and research organisations, including scholarly societies, universities, and research groups.

Consultation on the Draft UNESCO Recommendation

The first draft of the UNESCO Recommendation was produced, on the basis of the consultation and supported by the UNESCO Open Science team, by an international Open Science Advisory Committee, and was published for consultation in early October 2020.  Feedback on the draft Recommendation is invited from UNESCO Member States and from the global research community until the end of January 2021.  After that point, the Advisory Committee will resume its work to produce a second draft.  The revised draft, approved by the UNESCO Director General will be sent to Member States in April 2021.  This will be followed by a process of negotiation culminating, it is hoped, in the adoption of the text at the General Conference in November 2021.

The draft Recommendation offers a definition of Open Science and it presents a set of core values and principles.  Importantly, it lays out seven key areas of action, directed at Member States and other named stakeholders:

  1. Promoting a common understanding of Open Science and diverse paths to Open Science
  2. Developing an enabling policy environment for Open Science 
  3. Investing in Open Science infrastructures
  4. Investing in capacity building for Open Science
  5. Transforming scientific culture and aligning incentives for Open Science
  6. Promoting innovative approaches for Open Science at different stages of the scientific process  
  7. Promoting international cooperation on Open Science

Like any such document, the draft Recommendation tries to synthesise and reconcile a range of views and positions (not necessarily opposed or divergent, but with different emphases, concerns and priorities).  Therefore, discussion and critique of the ‘Open Science for a Global Transformation’ document and the draft Recommendation are to be expected and encouraged.  It is precisely through such scrutiny that we can ensure that this global statement on Open Science is as robust as possible.

We invite the global research data community, such as the readership of the Data Science Journal and those engaged with the Data Together organisations and other data and information organisations, to seize this opportunity and to use these venues described above to share scholarly discussion, opinion pieces, critiques and proposals in relation to the UNESCO process and Recommendation.  This will both provide a resource which can be fed into the direct process of consultation and feedback, and offer a longer-lasting collection of public and reasoned views and debate on the age-defining issue of Open Science.

We are particularly interested in articles documenting regional dimensions, exploring neglected issues, critiques and arguments to improve the Recommendation, and discussions of issues to address in order to ensure positive and equitable outcomes from Open Science implementation. There will also be opportunities for further discussion at the International (Virtual) FAIR Convergence Symposium in December 2020 and other events such as the Virtual RDA Plenary meeting in November 2020. 

An interview with Alena Rybkina, Vice-President, CODATA on “Building foundation for a world of open data and open science”

This interview is with Alena Rybkina, a Vice President of the CODATA Executive Committee.

“Building foundation for a world of open data and open science” was posted in Options magazine (published by IIASA). The link to online magazine –

Read the full interview here