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Call for Proposals – Open Repositories 2020

The 15th International Conference on Open Repositories, OR2020, will be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, from 1-4 June 2020. The organisers are pleased to invite you to contribute to the program. This year’s conference theme is: 

Open for all

In today’s world, access to knowledge by all is viewed by some as a fundamental freedom and human right. In our societies, open knowledge for all can enable sustainable development and growth on many levels. How well do repositories support knowledge in the service of society? How well do they enable local knowledge sharing and support not only academic use, but also use in education and practice?

Invitation to participate

OR2020 will provide an opportunity to explore and reflect on the ways repositories enable openness for all. We hope that this discussion will give the participants new insights and inspiration, which will help them to play a key role in developing, supporting and sharing an open agenda and open tools for research and scholarship.

We particularly welcome proposals on the overall “Open for All” theme, but also on other administrative, organisational or practical topics related to digital repositories. We are particularly interested in the following sub-themes:

1. Equity and democratization of knowledge

  • Accessibility of repositories and their content
  • Equity and democratization of knowledge
  • Inclusion of marginalized and underrepresented voices
  • Local knowledge sharing
  • Moving beyond traditional academic content and services, supporting educators and practitioners
  • Supporting knowledge in the service of society, encouraging non-academic use
  • Enabling access to governmental publications/data
  • Addressing language barriers

2. Beyond the repository

  • Integration with other open knowledge resources (e.g. Wikimedia and Wikidata)
  • Next Generation Repositories, Pubfair
  • Convergence and integration with other types of systems (e.g. current research information systems, digital asset management systems, publishing platforms, ORCID)
  • Interoperability vs integration
  • New models for scholarly sharing
  • Data mining, artificial intelligence and machine learning

3. Open and sustainable

  • Local systems vs repository as a service
  • Securing long-term funding for open infrastructures
  • Open business models and governance for open infrastructures
  • Sustaining community-based infrastructure

4. Policies, licensing and copyright laws

  • Impact of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), POPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act) and copyright laws
  • Publisher policies, embargoes and rights retention
  • Licenses and re-use of content
  • Compliance and impact of funder policies (e.g. Plan S) on repositories

5. Discovery, use and impact

  • Data/metadata visualization
  • Open access discovery, research data discovery
  • Tools for researchers and practitioners, interfaces for machines
  • Measuring impact particularly outside of the academic context.
  • Supporting use by practitioners.

6. Supporting open scholarship and cultural heritage

  • Providing access to different types of materials (e.g. research data, scholarly articles, pre prints and overlay journals, open access monographs, theses and dissertations, educational resources, archival and cultural heritage materials, audiovisual materials, software, interactive publications and emerging formats)
  • Repositories as digital humanities and open science platforms
  • Inclusion of marginalized and underrepresented voices

Submission Process

The Program Committee has provided templates to use for submissions (see below for links). Please use the submission template, and then submit through ConfTool (link coming soon) where you will be asked to provide additional information (such as primary contact and the conference subtheme your submission best fits).

Accepted proposals in all categories will be made available through the conference’s website. Later, the presentations and associated materials will be made available in an open repository; you will be contacted to upload your set of slides or poster. Some conference sessions will be live streamed or recorded, then made publicly available.

After the completion of the conference, we will solicit full papers from a selection of presentation  in order to be published in the OR2020 proceedings (open access, no article processing charge) in cooperation with a scholarly publisher. If you are proposing a presentation or panel, you may want to consider whether it could be turned into a full paper.

Submission Categories


Presentations make up the bulk of the Open Repositories conference. Presentations are substantive discussions of a relevant topic; successful submissions in past years have typically described work relevant to a wide audience. These typically are placed in a 30 minute time slot (generally alongside two other presentations for a total of 90 minutes). We strongly encourage presentations that can be delivered in 20-25 minutes in order to leave time for questions and discussion.

Presentation proposals should be 2-3 pages.


Panels are made up of two or more panelists presenting on work or issues where multiple perspectives and experiences are useful or necessary. Successful submissions in past years have typically described work relevant to a wide audience and applicable beyond a single software system. All panels are expected to include diversity in viewpoints, personal background, and gender of the panelists. Panels can be 60 or 90 minutes long. If 60 minutes, the panel may be combined in a session with a presentation.

Panel proposals should be 2-3 pages.

24×7 Presentations

24×7 presentations are 7 minute presentations comprising no more than 24 slides. Successful 24×7 presentations are fast paced and have a clear focus on one idea. 24×7 presentations about failures and lessons learnt are highly encouraged.

Presentations will be grouped into blocks based on conference themes, with each block followed by a moderated question and answer session involving the audience and all block presenters.

Proposals for 24×7 presentations should be one page.


OR2020 will feature physical posters only. Posters should showcase current or ongoing work that is not yet ready for a full 30 minute presentation. Instructions for preparing the posters will be distributed to authors of accepted poster proposals prior to the conference. Poster presenters will be expected to give a one-minute teaser at a Minute Madness session to encourage visitors to their poster during the poster reception.

Proposals for posters should be one page.

Developer Track

The Developer Track provides a focus for showcasing technical work and exchanging ideas. Presentations are 15-20 minutes and can be informal. Successful developer track presentations include live demonstrations, tours of code repositories, examples of cool features, and unique viewpoints.

Proposals for the developer track should be one page.

Workshops and Tutorials

The first day of Open Repositories 2020 will be dedicated to workshops and tutorials.

Workshops and tutorials generally cover practical issues around repositories and related technologies, tools, and processes. Successful workshops include clear learning outcomes, involve active learning, and are realistic in terms of the number of attendees that can actively participate in the workshop.

Workshops and tutorials can be 90 minutes, 3 hours (half-day), or 6 hours (full day).

Proposals for workshops should be no longer than 2 pages.


The OR2020 proposal templates help you prepare an effective submission. Please select the submission type below to download the templates. Templates are available in Microsoft Word, Open Document Format and Plain Text. Submission in PDF format is preferred.

Submission System

The system will be open for submissions by the end of November,  and the link will be on the conference website (

Review Process

All submissions will be peer reviewed and evaluated according to the criteria outlined in the call for proposals, including quality of content, significance, originality, and thematic fit. The program committee makes the final decisions on inclusion in the conference. If you would like to volunteer to be a reviewer, please contact the program committee below.

Also, please note that the program committee may accept a submission with the requirement that it move to another format (a presentation to a poster, for example). In such cases, submitters will have the opportunity to make a decision on whether to accept or decline such a move.

Code of Conduct

The OR2020 Code of Conduct is available at We expect submitters to hold to the Code of Conduct in their proposals, presentations, and conduct at the conference.

Fellowship Programme

OR2020 will again run a Fellowship Programme, which will enable us to provide support for a small number of full registered places (including the poster reception and conference dinner) for the conference in Stellenbosch. The programme is open to librarians, repository managers, developers and researchers in digital libraries and related fields. Applicants submitting a proposal for the conference will be given priority consideration for funding, and preference will be given to applicants from the African continent. Full details and an application form will shortly be available on the conference website.

Key Dates

  • 13 January 2020: Deadline for submissions
  • 20 January 2020: Deadline for Fellowship Programme applications
  • 10 February 2020: Submitters notified of acceptance of workshop proposals
  • 10 February 2020: Registration opens
  • 17 February 2020: Fellowship Programme winners notified
  • 9 March 2020: Submitters notified of acceptance of full presentation, 24×7, poster and developer track proposals
  • 20 April 2019: Close of Early Bird registration
  • 1-4 June 2020: OR2020 conference

Program Co-Chairs

  • Iryna Kuchma, EIFL
  • Lazarus Matizirofa, University of Pretoria
  • Dr Daisy Selematsela, University of Johannesburg


Local Hosts

Website and Social Media

Building of a terminology for the skills required to make and keep data FAIR

Major steps forward taken in the building of a terminology for the skills required to make and keep data FAIR.
DANS headquarters, The Hague, October 16-18, 2019.

What did we do?

On 16-18 October 2019, representatives of the research data community met at the DANS headquarters in The Hague to continue to build a terminology to describe FAIR stewardship skills (the skills necessary to make data FAIR and to keep them FAIR): the tag #terms4FAIRskills was used on Twitter during the event.

The meeting was kindly supported by FAIRsFAIR. This meeting was a follow up to the first terms4FAIRskills meeting held at the CODATA headquarters in Paris in 19-20 May 2019.

Why is this important?

This effort is building a formalised terminology that describes the competencies, skills and knowledge associated with activities involved in making data FAIR and keeping it FAIR. We have focussed initially on two important use cases, namely:

  • determining what FAIR-related skills are covered by a set of training materials;
  • searching for relevant FAIR-related courses and learning paths.

These will be important in enabling the training of FAIR-related skills for researchers, data stewards and data managers.

Other possible use cases such as developing FAIR-related job descriptions and domain-related searches in topics such as the Life or Social Sciences could also be developed. At the end of the Paris workshop we had a spreadsheet developed with 245 rows of terms based on the FAIR4S table.

What did we achieve since Paris?

Definitions and relationships for each term were developed by our annotation teams. The FAIRsharing team then clarified and added further information to the spreadsheet to enable conversion into an OWL file, which is one of the standard formats for expressing knowledge engineering data sets such as this. Details of this process can be found at

What did we achieve in The Hague?

At the meeting in DANS, the following was achieved:

  • the terminology was remodelled to more precisely distinguish activities from pedagogical concepts such as Knowledge, Skills and Aptitudes.
  • Talks were presented by the collaborations SSHOC, ELIXIR and FAIRsFAIR, which provided insights into how the terminology could be used and extended for their purposes.

What next?

We will continue to atomise and refine each class and build relationships collaboratively using the WebProtege web tool. The terminology will soon be tested against the initial use cases. We plan to make the terminology available in the near future for initial inspection and comment.

Read more.

The Open a GLAM lab book – and collections as data

A Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) Lab is a place for experimenting with digital collections and data. It is where researchers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators and the interested public can collaborate with an engaged group of partners to create new collections, tools, and services that will help transform the future ways in which knowledge and culture are disseminated. These Labs play a significant role in the transformation of large digital collections into data.

So far there was no systematic guidance on establishing GLAM Labs. In September a team of 16 international experts wrote the book ‘Open a GLAM Lab’ in five days during a booksprint and now this book is available under a CC0 licence on  and also accessible from the website of the International GLAM Labs community,

We are sharing with the CODATA community where many colleagues may be interested in the collections as data aspects of this work.

Data sharing from policy to practice: moving beyond national to global

This post was written by Rebecca Lawrence, Managing Director of F1000. She was a session organiser at the CODATA 2019 Conference in Beijing, China 

Scholarly research is a global enterprise, often requiring researchers to collaborate with relevant experts across the world. The data generated during research is a valuable commodity, and researchers are increasingly required to share the data created during their research endeavour. 

However, institutional and funder data sharing policies are typically developed at organisational or national level. Meanwhile, researchers are often funded by several research agencies, working as part of a collaboration and/or with a myriad of data-related outputs.  This makes adherence to the different data sharing policies complex, burdensome and time consuming.  Furthermore, the practical ability to share data – in reputable repositories, with adequate metadata, in usable formats, at economic cost – can be onerous and in some case prohibitive for researchers.  There also remain real cultural, social and economic barriers for many researchers to share their research data openly and in a timely manner.

The session at CODATA Beijing brought together experts representing many different parts of the world to discuss how we can work better together towards harmonisation of policies and incentives for researchers to share their data so that we can fully realise the benefits of making research data more available. Panelists were Jean-Claude Burgelman (European Commission), Rebecca Lawrence (F1000; chair), Xiaoxuan Li (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Erik Schultes (Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences), Daisy Selematsela (University of South Africa (UNISA) Library and Information Services) and Nick Shockey (SPARC).

There was considerable discussion around making sure that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the road towards Open Access (OA) but rather that we learn from it. With data sharing, there was agreement that it is especially important that it is built on a Commons and not allowed to be built by a small number of commercial closed entities. This is especially important given that ownership of data can be far more powerful and restrictive than ownership/copyright of publications. There was also agreement that much of the slow progress towards OA has been caused by confusing and lenient policies. With data sharing we have the opportunity to ensure early on that clear and stringent policies are put in place to ensure that a middle-ground does not emerge along a similar vein to the ‘hybrid’ approach now prevalent in article publishing.

There was also much discussion about the significant, and growing, gap in data sharing practices between the global north and the global south. We need to not just talk about the positives that data sharing can bring but also (and maybe especially importantly in the global south) about the risks of doing nothing. We need to consider carefully the impact on equity and inclusion before we build data sharing systems, not after when it is too late to make a tangible difference. This is especially important when considering the business model for these infrastructures to ensure that approaches don’t develop that will cause further imbalance and inequity.

The importance of ensuring that researchers not only understand what data sharing is about but also why it is important and the potential positive impact it can have on them and their research should not be underestimated. We need to debunk the many myths about it and recognise that this process is going to take considerable time and effort to achieve. 

Having said this, a significant shift towards greater data sharing will only come about if the rewards and incentives system starts to fully recognise the value of such activities and shifts away from the traditional sole focus on publications in high-impact venues. However, during such a shift, we also need to be alert to potential unintended negative consequences of any new system or approach.

Such a shift in incentives can be achieved not only by dangling ‘carrots’ but also by reducing researcher burden.  For example, the increasing use of automated workflows and data capture was highlighted as potentially creating an incentive for researchers to share their data by removing the considerable time burden in capturing and curating the data and associated methods, whilst also increasing the likely level of FAIR-compliance of the resulting data.

There was a sense from the panel that like the early Internet, the current infrastructures being built globally to support data sharing are going to become another revolutionary global infrastructure that can ultimately be used by everyone. Like then, we don’t yet know what this infrastructure may become or what it may enable. But once we can demonstrate the possibilities and potential brought about by open data policies and implementation by working through a few pilots on a multinational scale, this will mobilise the international community very quickly, and help us to bring about the crucial alignment needed around core elements of data sharing policy and implementation. 

SAVE THE DATE: Announcement of CAFDO 2019

Francophone Open Data Conference

17 – 19 December – Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Conscious of the importance of data to build sustainable development, the Francophone African Community on Open Data (CAFDO) in collaboration with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry host of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), organizes the second edition of the Francophone Open Data Conference (CAFDO 2019) from 17 to 19 December 2019 in Abidjan at the Palm Club Hotel.

The theme of this second edition is ” Open Data: From Principles to Action “. It is placed under the very high patronage of His Excellency the Prime Minister, Head of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire.

The objective of the conference is to promote the openness and reuse of data in French-speaking Africa. Specifically, it will:

  • Advocate at the political level for more openness of data produced in ministries and public institutions;
  • promote good practices on models of openness and exploitation of data;
  • identify common challenges and propose actions for a better contribution of data in building a sustainable economy in member countries.

It is expected at this conference, actors from government, civil society, development organizations, research centers, universities, digital communities (Open Source, Open Data, Open Government, etc.).

Read more

August 2019: Publications in the Data Science Journal

August 2019:  Publications in the Data Science Journal

Title: Development of a Climate Forcing Observation System for Africa: Data-Related Considerations
: Johannes Beck, Ana López-Ballesteros, Wim Hugo, Robert Scholes, Matthew Saunders, Jörg Helmschrot
Title: Practical Application of a Data Stewardship Maturity Matrix for the NOAA OneStop Project
Author: Ge Peng, Anna Milan, Nancy A. Ritchey, Robert P. Partee II, Sonny Zinn, Evan McQuinn, Kenneth S. Casey, Paul Lemieux III, Raisa Ionin, Philip Jones, Arianna Jakositz, Donald Collins
Title: NASA’s Earth Observing Data and Information System – Near-Term Challenges
: Jeanne Behnke, Andrew Mitchell, Hampapuram Ramapriyan
Title: Research Data Publication: Moving Beyond the Metaphor
: Sarah Callaghan
Title: Teaching Research Data Management for Students 
: Cord Wiljes, Philipp Cimiano
Title: Application of Natural Language Processing Algorithms to the Task of Automatic Classification of Russian Scientific Texts
: Aleksandr Romanov, Konstantin Lomotin , Ekaterina Kozlova

The advent of big data heralds huge opportunities

This article was first published by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

Prof. Muliaro delivering his public lecture presentation

The advent and emergence of “Big Data” and its related technologies has brought with it immense opportunities which can be seized if a new era of openness that leverages on various technologies, institutional and organizational frameworks that are critical in harnessing data are developed.

This was revealed during a public lecture titled: Openness in Data, Science and Governance,  delivered by Muliaro Wafula, an Associate Professor in the Department of Computing, School of Computing and Information Technology and Director of the ICT Centre of Excellence and Open Data at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Monday, April, 15, 2019.

Addressing the audience that included the President of CODATA, Prof. Barend Mons and the Executive Director, Dr. Simon Hudson, Prof. Muliaro gave an exposition on the concept of Open data, Open science, and Open governance.

Prof. Mons makes his brief remarks

Characterizing open science as a combination of concepts, tools, platforms and media to promote creation and dissemination of knowledge in free, open and more inclusive ways Prof Muliaro stated that “the goal of open science is to accelerate scientific progress and discoveries to benefit all, guaranteeing that scientific outputs are publicly available and easily accessible for others to use, re-use, and build upon.

He identified what he termed as key open science challenges namely; lack of established best open science practices, competition among scientists, existing credit systems that favour closed science, non-disclosure agreements and copyright laws and intellectual property guidelines as some of the drawbacks against full realization of open science.

Citing the partnership that brings together Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, JICA AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project, IBM East Africa, CODATA and the Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI), Prof. Muliaro said, the parties were working closely to promote the value of open research data through organizing hackathons on selected datasets of interest to the public in disciplines such as public health and agriculture.

Leveraging on their synergies, the initiative seeks to build, among others, “innovative mobile and web applications that make access and consumption of research data easy for the benefit of the society; encourage scientists to open their research data for public consumption and use, showcase open data capability in providing innovative solutions to societal challenges,” Prof. Muliaro stated.

Prof. Abukutsa delivers the opening remarks

He mentioned Smart Health Application based on indigenous vegetables data, Children Food Nutrition Formula Application based on local Kenyan foods, and Effects of Mugukaa on Health, as some of the key outputs under the initiative.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, in her opening message said, the journey towards embracing open data at JKUAT began five years ago when the institution established the ICT Centre of Excellence and Open Data (iCEOD) – which is expected to serve Kenya and Africa as a region, adding that the Centre had already taken its strategic role seriously, making contributions at the national and global level.

Prof. Ngumi further observed in the remarks read on her behalf by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa, that “JKUAT is among few leading universities that have taken a bold step towards creating an enabling environment for open data by formulating and adopting an Open Data Research (JORD) Policy in line with the CODATA – led Nairobi Open Data Principles of 2014.”

She however decried insufficient and poor public sensitization on issues such as open data, open science and open governance, arguing that “the tradition and culture for most people has been to be private by default.” Prof Ngumi called for a deliberate strategy to towards changing that mindset.

A section of the academic community including guests
who attended
the public lecture presentation.

The President of CODATA, Prof. Barend Mons, said Africa could lead the initiative to use data at the global level noting,  “data or knowledge is the new oil or gold and it could be more useful if it is shared,” while CODATA Executive Director, Dr. Simon Hudson, underscored the importance of data in implementing sustainable development goals by “creating and measuring data to make meaningful, mindful informed decisions.”

Present at the public lecture included; Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Bernard Ikua; Principal, College of Pure and Applied Sciences, Prof. David Mulati; Deans of Schools including the Dean, School of Computing and Information Technology, Prof. Stephen Kimani,  Heads of Departments and Faculty and students.

Tracking the impact of the CODATA/RDA data science schools: the case of the OSG

The CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Schools provide Early Career Researchers with the opportunity to meet their colleagues and learn relevant Data Science skills. We actively encourage students to use their learning as an opportunity to create new collaborations and generate new research.

One spectacularly successful example of this is Oscar Arbelaez Echeverry from Colombia who, through links made at the schools, enabled approximately 1.2 million CPU hours [this is akin to having access to a 1600 core cluster for a month] to be run on Monte Carlo simulations. As a result of accessing the Open Science Grid resource, six publications [1-7] have been generated by his supervisor, in the best journals in the field and for wider audiences . By providing Oscar with the relevant skills, he has been instrumental to advancing research in his home institution.

Oscar attended the Trieste school in 2017 (#dataTrieste17). He has a background in Condensed Matter Physics and was working with Juan Alzate-Cardona at the Departamento de Física y Química, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Manizales. Juan is working on computational studies of magnetic materials. This requires extensive Monte Carlo simulations of the materials and is highly computationally intensive, but allows insights into the nature of the materials such as the magnetocaloric effect – which in essence is how the temperature of a magenetic material changes when subjected to a change in the magnetic field around it.

As it was, the research team was highly limited in the work they could do because they didn’t have sufficient access to compute resource and were unaware of freely accessible services like the Open Science Grid (OSG) and how to apply them. During the school Oscar was introduced to the OSG in the Computational Infrastructures course run by Rob Quick. OSG scavenges computing cycles from the vast amount of grid computing clusters available worldwide and offers 1.5 billion CPU hours per year which is free and open to all researchers. Oscar described the problem he was having to Rob and they agreed to make use of the OSG.

Since being a student at the school in 2017, Oscar has gone to act as a helper in the school in São Paulo, Brazil. He is now in Switzerland completing research for his Ph.D. This success story is precisely why we work on these schools – the schools are not just about the materials; they are about building communities and creating connections. These connections are key in enabling these opportunities and successes for researchers in Low and Middle Income Countries.

If you give people access to tools and teach them how to use them, you can transform the research being generated. The CODATA/RDA schools are doing this across the LMIC, one student at a time. Well, 250+ now and counting… Just imagine the ripple effect all these individuals have had in their home communities!

[1] Pordes, R. et al. The open science grid. J. Phys. Conf. Ser. 78, 012057 (2007)

[2] Alzate-Cardona, J. D., Sabogal-Suárez, D., Arbeláez-Echeverri, O. D. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Vegas: Software package for the atomistic simulation of magnetic materials. Rev. Mex. Física 64, 490 (2018).

[3] Alzate-Cardona, J. D., Sabogal-Suárez, D., Evans, R. F. L. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Optimal phase space sampling for Monte Carlo simulations of Heisenberg spin systems. J. Phys. Condens. Matter 31, 095802 (2019).

[4] Alzate-Cardona, J. D., Salcedo-Gallo, J. S., Rodríguez-Patiño, D. F., Acosta-Medina, C. D. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Unveiling a Scaling and Universal Behavior for the Magnetocaloric Effect in Cubic Crystal Structures: A Monte Carlo Simulation. Sci. Rep. 9, 5228 (2019).

[5] Acosta-Medina, C. D., Alzate-Cardona, J. D. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Monte Carlo study of the magnetization reversal times in a core/shell magnetic nanoparticle. Comput. Condens. Matter 17, e00338 (2018).

[6] Sabogal-Suárez, D., Alzate-Cardona, J. D. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Influence of the shape on exchange bias in core/shell nanoparticles. J. Magn. Magn. Mater. 482, 120–124 (2019).

[7] Salcedo-Gallo, J. S., Rodríguez-Patiño, D. F., Alzate-Cardona, J. D., Barco-Ríos, H. & Restrepo-Parra, E. Magnetocaloric effect and magnetic properties in NdMnO3 perovskite: A Monte Carlo approach. Phys. Lett. A 382, 2069–2074 (2018).

Deadline for Applications for the 2019 Foundation School and Advanced Workshops is approaching: 18 April

This post is a syndicated copy of the one at

CODATA Update and Important Dates 2019

This document provides a quick and accessible list of CODATA activities, deliverables and impact from the past year. It then highlights some important upcoming activities and events for 2019:

The CODATA Prospectus: Strategy and Achievement, 2015-2018 summarises the most important activities, deliverables and impacts over that period:

Strategic Priority Area 1: Data Policy

The CODATA International Data Policy Committee has been reformed and invigorated.  Under the leadership of Paul Uhlir, the Committee now boasts participation from a team of global experts.  In 2018, the Committee explored a number of key policy areas, establishing sub-groups for the following topics:

  • Upstream-Downstream: Non-Profit Research Data and Commercial Innovation;
  • Data Diplomacy
  • Model Data Policy Training Module
  • Landscape Survey and Good Practice in Data Policies

Reports, White Papers or scholarly articles, as appropriate will be the major outputs from these groups.  In 2019, the Committee will also deliver the following:

  • The creation of the University of Arizona – CODATA Center of Excellence in Data for Society (formal announcement to follow)
  • International Workshop on Implementing Open Research Data Policy and Practice, Beijing, China, 16-17 September 2019
  • 20-Year Review of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)

Other important data policy related contributions of 2018 were:

  • Turning FAIR into Reality, European Commission Expert Group Report, chaired by Simon Hodson, Executive Director, CODATA.
  • SA-EU Open Science Dialogue Report, Report of the SA-EU Dialogue, Simon Hodson, Executive Director, CODATA, was a member of the Expert Task Group.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Frontiers of Data Science

2018 saw a significant milestone in the history of science when the General Conference of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures approved the redefinition of four base units of the International System of Units (SI) on values determined by the work of the CODATA Task Group on Fundamental Physical Constants.

The CODATA Data Science Journal continued its renaissance with rapidly growing citations and impact.  Two notable new Special Collections include Research Data Alliance Results and papers from the Göttingen-CODATA RDM Symposium 2018, which took place in March 2018.

International Data Week 2018, which took place in Gaborone, Botswana, 5-8 November, organized in partnership with the Research Data Alliance, the ISC World Data System and the African Open Science Platform was a major success with 850 participants from around the globe.  IDW combines SciDataCon with the RDA Plenary.  Papers from the conference will appear in the CODATA Data Science Journal.

The major data science activity in 2018 has been the piloting of the Data Integration Initiative, which addresses the fundamental challenge of data interoperability for major, global, interdisciplinary research questions.  In 2018, the initiative advanced with three pilot case studies, examining these issues in the context of infectious diseases, resilient cities and disaster risk reduction.  Major outputs include:

The event held at the Schloss Dagstuhl in partnership with the Data Documentation Initiative was particularly important in advancing the initiative’s approach and it will result in a series of articles about the pilot case studies and the data challenges involved.  CODATA is preparing for consideration by the International Science Council, a proposal for a major flagship programme to address the challenge for data interoperability and integration for interdisciplinary research.

Strategic Priority Area 3: Capacity Building and Data Skills Training

The African Open Science Platform project addresses a number of areas essential to building capacity in the use of data and Open Science.  Information on the project’s activities can be found at  Two stakeholder and strategy workshops (March and September 2018) led to the launch of the Vision and Strategy for the African Open Science Platform for the African Open Science Platform at Science Forum South Africa, in a presentation by co-chair Khotso Mokhele.  A founding members’ meeting will be hosted at the Biblioteca Alexandrina later in 2019.

The CODATA-RDA Schools of Research Data Science have continued expanding: in 2018 schools were held in Brisbane, Australia (June; short version); Trieste, Italy (August; foundational school and advanced workshops); Kigali, Rwanda (October; foundational school) and São Paulo, Brazil (December; foundational school).  For 2019, Data Schools are planned for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (July), Trieste (August), Kigali (October), San José, Costa Rica (December) and Abuja, Nigeria (TBC).  Negotiations are underway with hosts for 2020 and, resources permitting, that year could see as many as twelve schools.

A video about the Data Schools initiative can be watched at; be sure to follow the CODATA website, lists and social media for announcements of application deadlines.

Building on this work, CODATA is a partner in the European Commission funded FAIRsFAIR project, playing a major role in the development of virtual competence centres for data skills.   CODATA is also leading the GO FAIR Training Frameworks Implementation Network which will leverage these activities to 1) refine a curriculum framework for data science and data stewardship; 2) develop a train-the-trainer programme; and 3) design a mechanism for endorsement and certification of training activities.

31st CODATA General Assembly (2018)

The 31st CODATA General Assembly was held at the University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana on 9-10 November 2018.  The report and other materials from the General Assembly may be consulted here

The General Assembly elected Barend Mons as President and a new Executive CommitteeEight Task Groups were approved.  Also significant was that the General Assembly approved revisions to the CODATA Constitution designed to encourage organizations of various sorts to become CODATA members and to allow CODATA to function in a more effective, modern way.

Major Events for 2019

In addition to the activities noted above, CODATA will convene two major conferences in 2019.

CODATA-Drexel Workshop on FAIR and Responsible Research Data Management, 31 March-1 April will take place as a collocated event to the 13th RDA Plenary Meeting in Philadelphia, USA.  Like its predecessor in Göttingen, the workshop will feature invited talks and selected presentation on matters relating to FAIR and Responsible RDM.  It will result in a Special Collection of the Data Science Journal.  The deadline for papers is 18 February:

CODATA 2019: Towards next-generation data-driven science: policies, practices and platforms, 18-19 September 2019 in Beijing, China:

The Call for Sessions has been released with a deadline of 15 April 2019.

The conference will follow a high-level workshop, 16-17 September 2019, on ‘Implementing Open Research Data Policy and Practice’ that will examine such challenges in China and elsewhere in the light of the emergence of data policies and in particular the China State Council’s Notice on ‘Measures for Managing Scientific Data’.

The newly-elected CODATA Executive Committee after the General Assembly in Gaborone:

Blog Posts on the Springer Nature Data Dialogues from Participants in the CODATA-RDA Schools of Research Data Science

In 2018, the third year of activity, the CODATA-RDA Schools of Research Data Science expanded to five events, with foundational data training in Brisbane, Trieste, Kigali and São Paulo and advanced workshops in Trieste.

SpringerNature is a committed and generous supporter of this initiative and part of our collaboration is that participants in the schools have written blogs about their experiences which appear on the SpringerNature Data Dialogues.  Three of these blogs relating to the São Paulo school in December 2018 have recently appeared.  These are direct and transparent accounts from three student helpers involved in the São Paulo school.

One of the approaches used by the initiative is to arrange for particularly able and enthusiastic students to return as student helpers: this provides invaluable assistance with pedagogy, enhances the experience of the returning student, helps build the social and skilled network around the schools, and creates a community of future instructors and hosts as the initiative expands.

Introducing the CODATA-RDA School of Research Data Science

CODATA-RDA Research Data Science Summer School Trieste 2018.

We have often heard wise heads in the Open Science and FAIR movements say things like the following:

  • the major challenge is human rather than technical;
  • the size of the data challenge is measured in people rather than in PB…

These student helpers are part of that human solution.

Please follow the links below and enjoy!

An old dog learning new tricks

An old dog learning new tricks

Attending the CODATA-RDA School in 2017 as a student was a breakthrough moment for me.

Juliano van Melis

Opening my head to FAIR science

Opening my head to FAIR science

My participation in the CODATA-RDA schools really improved my view regarding what is to be a good scientist. Openness and FAIRness should constantly and consciously be applied as a golden rule. He…

Caroline Franco

In this blog I discuss the benefits/truth of joining the CODATA-RDA School of Research Data Science. Taking part of the school both as a student and a helper allowed me to see how the school helped…

Jose Lopez