Mark Thorley: Statement in Support of Candidacy for Re-Election

This is the seventh in the series of short statements from candidates in the forthcoming CODATA Elections. Mark Thorley has served on the CODATA Executive Committee since 2010 and is seeking re-election. He is nominated by the UK CODATA National Committee.

DSC_1777I welcome the opportunity to stand for re-election to the CODATA Executive Committee and to continue to be involved in helping manage and direct the important work of CODATA.

I have been a member of the CODATA Executive Committee since 2010. During this time I believe that CODATA has benefited from my skills and expertise, especially for the work I have done on the future of the CODATA Data Science Journal and also as the CODATA representative on the ICSU group which produced the ICSU policy statement on Open Access. As Chair of the CODATA Data Policy Committee I have been actively involved in helping develop the ‘agenda for data’ – a core element within the work on Policy and Institutional Frameworks for Data.

If re-elected I would focus on progressing the work of the Data Policy Committee, and also work to ensure that the CODATA Data Science Journal is further developed into a high-quality open access journal with a robust business model. The journal is an important external face of CODATA, and a key route to help disseminate information on the important work being undertaken by the CODATA community.  I am also keen to see how through supporting capacity building activities CODATA can advance the science and practice of research data management by enabling access to the wide range of expertise within the CODATA community, especially for those in less developed countries. To me it is crucial that we get over the message to the research community that research data management is not just a responsibility of the data management community. Rather it is the responsibility of all those involved in research, because it is central to the process of research, especially in our digital age.

I have an established track-record in research data management, both at the operational and the policy and strategic level. In 1990 I joined the British Antarctic Survey as a marine data manager, then becoming head of the Antarctic Environmental Data Centre, before moving onto become the Data Management Coordinator for the UK’s Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC). I am currently the Head of Scientific Information at NERC, where amongst other things, I have responsibility for data policy, science information strategy and NERC’s network of research libraries. Some of the strategic areas I work in include data exploitation, big data, e-infrastructure and data publishing.

I also have a high-profile role as one of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) policy leads in Open Access and scholarly communications, where I have been heavily involved in the development and implementation of the RCUK Policy on Open Access.

As a member of the UK’s Open Access Implementation Group and the Open Research Data Forum I am now one of the key UK players in Open Access and Open Data. I am also a member of the advisory board for the recently established Nature Publishing Group journal ‘Scientific Data’.

The breadth of my experience means that I belong to a small group of individuals who are able to understand the whole landscape of research data, from the technical side of data management to the developing area of data publishing and data citation, and the interplay between data management and scholarly communication more generally.

Alongside the Research Data Alliance and the ICSU World Data System, CODATA has a continuing and important role to play supporting the science and practice of research data management, especially within the ICSU family, and if given the opportunity, I am keen to continue to contribute to the work of CODATA.