Monthly Archives: September 2015

Historic launch of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

marshall_ma_smallThis post is provided by Xaiogang (Marshall) Ma, a core member of the CODATA Early Career Data Professionals Group (ECDP). He was the winner of one of the inaugural World Data System Stewardship Awards at SciDataCon 2014. Marshall is an Associate Research Scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, specialising in Semantic eScience and Data Science. Check out his RPI Homepage here.

An information email in early September from Simon Hodson, the CODATA Executive Director, attracted my deep interest. His email was about the high-level political launch for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. I was interested because I have worked on Open Data in the past few years and the experience shows that Open Data is far more than a purely technical issue. I was excited to see that there would be such an event initiated by political partners and focusing on social impacts. I am grateful for the support from the CODATA Early Career Data Professionals Working Group, which made it possible for me to head to New York City to attend the forum in person on September 28th.

The forum was held in the Jade Room of the Waldorf Astoria hotel, and lasted for three hours from 2 to 5PM, with a tight but well-organized schedule of about 10 lightning talks, four panels and about 30 commitment introductions from the partners. The panels and lightning talks focused on why open data is needed, how to make data open and, especially, what and the value of Open Data for The 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development and the social impact that the data can generate. I was happy to see that successful stories of Open geospatial data were mentioned several times in the lightening talks and the panels. For example, delegates from the World Resources Institute presented the Global Forest Watch-Fires, which provides near-real time information from various resources that can enable people to take prompt response before the fire runs out of control. During the partner introductions, I heard more exciting news about the actions that the stakeholders in governments, academia, industry and non-profit organizations are going to take to support the joint efforts of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. For example, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation will invest $20m to improve data on coverage of nutrition interventions and other key indicators by 2020 in several countries; the DigitalGlobe commits to provide three countries with evaluation licenses to their BaseMap service as well as training sessions for human resources; the Planet Labs commits $60 million in geospatial imagery to support the global community; and the William and flora Hewlett Foundation is proposing to commit about $3m to the start-up support of the secretariat for a Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. A list of the current partners is accessible on the partnership’s website here.

Image from globalgoals.orgThe Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data has a long-term vision for 2030: a world in which everyone is able to engage in solving the world’s greatest problems by (1) Effectively Using Data and (2) Fostering Trust and Accountability in the Sharing of Data. The pioneering partners in this effort have already committed to deliver more than 100 data driven projects worldwide to pave the pathway for the vision for 2030. For the first year, the partnership will work together to achieve these goals: (1) Improve the Effective Use of Data, (2) Fill Key Data Gaps, (3) Expand Data Literacy and Capacity, (4) Increase Openness and leverage of Existing Data, and (5) Mobilize Political Will and Resources.

historic_launch_prof_sanjeev_khagram_shorten_lightenThe forum was chaired by Prof. Sanjeev Khagram, with over 200 attendees from various backgrounds. The diversity of the attendees was partly reflected in the result of an online poll during the forum, which asked the participant to choose which goal that better data will make the most difference (see the result in the photo below).

historic_launch_online_poll_shortenDuring the reception time after the forum, I had a brief chat with Prof. Khagram about CODATA and also the Early Career Data Professionals Working Group, as well as the potential collaborations. He informed me that the partnership is open and invites broad participation to address the sustainable development goals. Prof. Khagram also mentioned that a bigger event, the World Data Forum, will take place in 2016. I also had the opportunity to catch up with Dr. Bob Chen from CIESIN, Columbia University about recent activities. It seems that ‘climate change’ is the topic of focus for several conferences in the year 2015, such as the International Scientific Conference, the Research Data Alliance Sixth Plenary Meeting and the United Nations Climate Change Conference, and Paris is the city for all these three events.

marshall_ma_zoomedThe report A World That Counts: Mobilising The Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, prepared by the United Nation Secretary-General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, provides more background information about the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.

Second Scientific Data Conference held in Lanzhou, China

Lanzhou 2015 - conf1This post is provided from CODATA China Secretariat: Dr.Li Jianhui, Ms. Zhang Hui and Ms. Li Chang.

The Second Scientific Data Conference, sponsored by the Chinese National Committee for CODATA (CODATA-China), was held in Lanzhou, China on 26-27 August, 2015. More than 450 experts, scholars and students from over 100 research units participated in this conference.

Under the national strategy of Internet Plus and One Belt and One Road in the big data era, this conference aimed to discuss scientific data sharing and its basic theory, method, technology, management and application to diverse fields including environment resources, ecology, information consumption, space-based astronomy, medicine and health.The conference also aimed to explore, develop and promote an innovative scientific activity model driven by scientific big data, to serve the construction of greater scientific collaboration in the Silk Road economic belt.

Lanzhou 2015 - conf2_shorten_600px
Academician Guo HuadongSpread over two days, the conference comprised two plenary sessions and ten breakout sessions. In addition to three invited reports, the conference featured five keynotes from: Academician Guo Huadong, Academician XU Zongben, Academician Ge Changchun, Prof. Kwan-Liu Ma, Prof. LI Wenqin. The keynotes focused on the scientific problems and challenges of scientific big data, the role of scientific big data in the Silk Road economic belt, and data visualization.

Scholars reached broad consensus through extensive discussion and hold the view that scientific research has entered the big data era. The basic theory, method and key technology of scientific data collection, management, analysis, processing, sharing, mining, calculation and application need to be established as soon as possible, in order to fuel technological innovation, industry transformation and social development.

Prof. LI Jianhui, Secretary-General of CODATA-ChinaA specially convened workshop organised in collaboration with the CODATA Task Group on Data Citation surveyed current practice of data citation in China and among stakeholders including publishers and data centres. Attendees heard calls to promote the achievements of Chinese scientists, data curators and data managers through the means of data publishing and by incorporating the practice of data citation and research communication. It was announced also that the greater communication of Chinese scientific data in this way was supported by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of PRC.

In his concluding speech, as part of the closing ceremony, Prof. LI Jianhui, Secretary-General of CODATA-China, announced that the Third Scientific Data Conference will be held in Shanghai in September 2016.

Introducing the new Data Science Journal Editorial Board

dsj_coverThis post comes from Sarah Callaghan, new Editor-in-Chief of the Data Science Journal, recently relaunched with Ubiquity Press.

It is my great pleasure to be able to introduce the new editorial team for the Data Science Journal. We have gathered an exceptional team, with members from all around the world, covering data science topics as diverse as data stewardship, databases, large scale data facilities, data visualisation, geospatial aspects of data, semantics, data policy and much, much more. Our editorial board members also bring expertise in research fields such as (but not limited to) Earth sciences, libraries, scientific computing, public health, humanities, mathematics, genomics, computational biology, physics and statistics.

It can be slightly nerve-racking when putting a call out for nominations for editors for a newly re-launched journal – what if no one applies? Thankfully, this wasn’t the case for us, and we received nearly 50 applications, which is a great sign of the feeling in the data science community that this journal is needed and wanted. Many of the applicants I already know through their active engagement in the CODATA and other research data communities, and I am very much looking forward to working with all of the editorial team in the future.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the previous members of the Data Science Journal editorial board, in particular the previous Editors-in-Chief, Shuichi Iwata and John Rumble, for their past work.

SarahCallaghanPortrait_2013Introducing myself

I was honoured to be asked to take on the role of Editor-in-Chief of the Data Science Journal earlier this year. My scientific background is in radio propagation, where I created, managed and archived long term, irreproducible datasets, with all the aggravation that goes with that work. I then changed roles and became a data and project manager for the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA) at STFC Rutherford Appleton, UK – poacher turning gamekeeper, so to speak.

My main research interests are in data citation and publication. Simply put, I want to change the research culture so that publishing data, and getting credit for it, is the norm rather than the exception. (And yes, I do know how difficult that particular culture change is likely to be.)

In the past I have managed several data citation and publication projects, including the Jisc funded OJIMS and PREPARDE projects, and the NERC Data Citation and Publication project. I was co-chair of the CODATA-ICSTI Task Group on Data Citation (before being co-opted to the CODATA Executive Committee) and am currently a co-chair of the RDA/WDS Working Group on Publishing Data Bibliometrics.

In my day job, I currently project manages several large scale projects including the EU FP7 project CLIPC .  My formal publication list can be found here, and I also blog informally about data topics here.

My aim is to make the Data Science Journal the primary journal for high quality academic publications in data science, providing a focus and discussion space for the wider community. I know that with the support of the editorial team, we will make this happen!