Monthly Archives: July 2018

RDA EU Early Career grants for 12th Plenary, 5-8 Nov 2018, Botswana (part of IDW2018)

RDA Europe ( continues its series of support programmes for data researchers and practitioners and is now running an Open Call to facilitate participation of 7 RDA Early Career Researchers to the 12th RDA Plenary meeting in Botswana, held during the International Data Week 2018 (


The second edition of International Data Week (IDW 2018) will be held on 5-8 November 2018 in Gaborone, Botswana bringing together data professionals and researchers from all disciplines and from all parts of the globe. Co-organized by CODATA, ICSU-WDS and RDA, this landmark event will address the theme of ‘The Digital Frontiers of Global Science’ and will combine the 12th RDA Plenary Meeting, the biannual meeting of the research data community, and SciDataCon 2018, the scientific conference addressing the frontiers of data in research.


RDA Europe is seeking applications from students and early career professionals from European higher education or research institutions  with studies focusing on research data sharing and exchange challenges. The Early Career support programme will offer up to seven grants of maximum €1750 to cover travel expenses. To view all the call details and apply please visit
Application period closes on 30 August 2018, 17:00 CEST and applicants will be notified of the outcome on the 21 September 2018.

2019 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists : Nominations now open

Launched in 2010 by The Elsevier Foundation, TWAS and OWSD, the Awards reward and encourage women working and living in developing countries who are in the early stages of their scientific careers. Awardees must have made a demonstrable impact on the research environment both at a regional and international level and have often overcome great challenges to achieve research excellence.

In 2010, this scheme included the selection of 11 early career women from developing countries, working in STEM subjects.  From 2013-2018, in order to provide more focus and visibility, the number of awards was reduced to 5 per year and scientific disciplines were introduced on a 3-year cycle.

Each year a total of five Awards are given to five women scientists at relatively early stages in their careers (up to ten years after receiving their PhD). One woman is awarded for each of the four OWSD regions (plus an additional winner from any of the four regions): Africa; the Arab region; Asia and Pacific; Latin America and the Caribbean; (see complete list of countries below).

The award has an important impact on local research cultures. Previous winners say the awards have had a powerful effect, enhancing the visibility of their past work and creating new opportunities for the future. The awardees are powerful role models for young women who are contemplating whether to remain in an environment that is often hostile to their needs and experience.

Find a list of all previous awardees here.

Subject areas are:

  • 2019 (selected in 2018) Biological sciences: agriculture, biology and medicine
  • 2020 (selected in 2019) Engineering Sciences: engineering, innovation and technology
  • 2021 (selected 2020) Physical Sciences: chemistry, mathematics and physics

Each winner receives a cash prize of USD 5,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting (14-18 February 2019 in Washington, 13-17 February 2020 in Seattle, 11-14 February 2021 in Phoenix). Lasting 5 days, the event is packed with networking opportunities. The winners receive their award at a special networking ceremony, as well as opportunities to attend workshops and sessions at the AAAS meeting, visits to local laboratories or institutions, and a celebratory dinner organised by the Elsevier Foundation.

For a full list of eligible subjects click here. Nominations open in June each year and close in September.


The nominee must be a female scientist; have received her PhD within the previous 10 years; and have lived and worked in one of the following developing countries during the three years immediately prior to the nomination:


Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Dem  Rep Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique,  Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Arab Region

Djibouti, Palestine (West Bank & Gaza Strip), Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen

Asia and Pacific

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Lao People’s Dem Rep, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Latin America & Caribbean

Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay


The competition will be judged by a distinguished panel of international scientists, including members of TWAS, OWSD and ICTP, and chaired by OWSD. The assessment will be based on achievements in the field, with particular attention paid both to the nominees’ contribution to capacity-building in their region, as well as international impact. Winners will be informed of their selection in November.


Nominations are invited from senior academics, including OWSD members, TWAS Fellows, ICTP visiting scientists and staff, national science academies, national research councils and heads of departments/universities both in developing and developed countries. Please note that self-nominations are not accepted. Nominations must be made online; they must include the candidate’s curriculum vitae and full list of publications and be accompanied by two reference letters plus an additional supporting statement by the nominator (who cannot be one of the referees).



Deadline for completed 2019 online nominations: 23 September 2018

Successful candidates will be notified by November 2018 and will need to apply immediately for visas for travel to Washington, DC, in February 2019.


OWSD Secretariat

Phone: +39 040 2240530

Harnessing use of agricultural data to help smallholder farmers in Kenya manage climate change effects

This blog post was written by Boniface Akuku, who is currently the Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).

The good or promising practice are about the various use of ICTs for agriculture or rural development. Following 2017 call for Good and Promising Practices in Agriculture this paper was selected for review and publication.

The paper asserts that development of an agro-weather tool and digitizing agricultural value chain is a promising practice for climate smart agriculture in Kenya. The author further contends that the various constraints and challenges facing smallholder farmers in Kenya can be addressed by harnessing use of data from agricultural researchers and meteorologists. In addition, improving access to these datasets as well as creating value and obtaining insight from the datasets can be achieved effectively by embracing a paradigm shift towards creating value from data through application of ICT and disruptive technologies.

Read the full paper

Requesting Your Inputs for integrating climate change topics in core curriculum

TROP ICSU ( is a global project funded by the International Council of Science. It aims to improve awareness of climate change and the science behind it among students by developing teaching aids for teachers at the high school (secondary school) and undergraduate (Bachelor’s degree) levels.

These educational resources, with detailed step-by-step descriptions to use them in regular lectures (see:, are designed in such a way that in addition to bringing climate-related examples and case studies to the core curriculum, they also enhance conceptual understanding of the topics in basic science, mathematics and other disciplines.

There are more than 10 such lesson plans on our website that could be used by teachers of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Earth Science, Social Science,  etc.

Before we scale this up and expand our activities further, we would like to do a survey of teachers across the globe to get a feedback so that our efforts would be more effective in the long run.

The short survey would take approximately 8-10 minutes to complete. Thank you for taking the time to respond to the questionnaire. We assure you that your responses will be treated as confidential.

The survey is available in several languages. Please choose your preferred language from the list below:

  1. English:
  2. Catalan:
  3. Chinese:
  4. French:
  5. German:
  6. Hindi:
  7. Italian:
  8. Japanese:
  9. Spanish:

We would greatly appreciate your help in forwarding the survey to a wide audience of teachers and teacher networks in regions across the world. The results of this survey will be posted on after collecting and analyzing the responses.

DAMDID 2018 Workshop on FAIR Data and EOSC Announcement

The acronyms FAIR Data and EOSC, emerging within the Europe Union, have achieved a global awareness. Now it is time to invoke a global discussion and to integrate views and experience beyond disciplinary and geographic boundaries. The FAIR principles on data require data to be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable. While their seem to be practicable solutions to make digital objects (files, cloud objects, structures in SQL or No-SQL databases, spreadsheets, etc.) findable and accessible by assigning persistent identifiers and rich metadata to them, ways to increase interoperability and improving re-usability are not as evident. Different data organisations, data models and semantic spaces need to be explicitly described and mapped which is known to be very time consuming at this moment in particular since the data universe is changing rapidly. Conditions for re-usage need to be made explicit which are also difficult to formulate. And, all specifications need to be available in machine actionable forms to enable automatic processing which is the only way to scale up processing in data rich science in the future. A new culture of exchanging data and new methods are required to make FAIR data reality.

In addition, the European Commission started the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative to develop the eco-system of infrastructures that will help to realise a FAIR data domain for data intensive sciences. It needs to include salient infrastructure components and integrate different services as they are being developed by research disciplines, by existing infrastructure initiatives as well as by computer science driven initiatives in a highly interoperable manner. Obviously, EOSC is describing a process that is agile enough to adapt to the dynamic changes in our data universe and not a blueprint for a top-down designed infrastructure.

This workshop will bring a number of different key experts who were actively leading the agendas with respect to FAIR and EOSC and who come from different research disciplines including computer science with their views and expectations about FAIR and EOSC. In particular, ways to achieve a higher degree of interoperability and re-usability will be discussed. The workshop will also be a moment where experts from different regions will take the chance to discuss state and future of the FAIR action plan and the EOSC initiative, bring in their views and enrichments, and discuss active participation.

Therefore, this workshop will be a milestone not only for creating more awareness about FAIR and EOSC, but also in refining the current plans. In particular, we hope to get clarification of what Open Science means for he countries outside of the EU as well as Perspectives of the EC FAIR/EOSC initiative for involvement of all interested Stakeholders beyond EU.

For further information on FAIR and EOSC we refer to the following documents:


Lomonosov Moscow State University
October 9, 2018


Peter Wittenburg, Leonid Kalinichenko


Tentative version of the workshop program is available.

Data + Technology can improve African Agriculture

Many smallholder farmers start off and manage their agribusiness ventures through trial and error basis. They hit the ground with gusto with no concrete information on farming, which leads to costly blunders. But hopefully that problem is being solved. KALRO (Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organisation) has launched 14 agribusiness apps to help farmers make informed choices even as they undertake their agribusiness ventures.

Launched during the just-concluded East Africa Farmers Digital conference, KALRO’s ICT Director Boniface Akuku said the organisation has realised most farmers run their projects without expert knowledge. To address that problem, the research body is on a mission to digitise the agricultural value chain.

“Ours is to ensure we give farmers research based information to ensure they run their projects with success. Have you noticed that most large scale farmers are doing well but small scale ones are struggling. The reason being while the big players are operating using data, the small holder farmers are operating blindly because they have no access to key information on how to farm.”

The organsation therefore hopes to solve that problem and ensure farmers have access to key information through ICT tools, said Akuku. The apps give step by step information on how to manage avocado, banana, garlic, spider flower and cassava farm. It touches on critical aspects from planting to harvesting and marketing. The other apps address fall armyworm reporting and mapping, grey leaf spot disease resistant maize varieties and maize lethal necrosis disease control.

Read more at:

Report on 11th RDA conference: “From data to knowledge

The  11th RDA Plenary  took place at Berlin, Germany from 189th to 23rd March 2018. The meeting brought together several and different experts including researchers, data scientists, knowledge experts and practitioners. From the proceeding it clear that a number of stakeholders have and continue to be engaged in advancing a number projects and initiatives in open data space. It is also evidenced that data is driving many economies including those of developing countries.

In the recent past there has been increased demand for data driven empowering techniques such as knowledge on fertilizer applications to help farmers, delivery of real time and mobile data and information. These demands require intelligent systems that can learn, adapt and automatically act on data. In addition, there is increasingly recognition of digital detailed reflection of the physical world we live in where most of the agricultural systems has to be fed with digital information requiring information to be availed in digital format. Furthermore, new and emerging means of collaboration are requiring dynamic connection including people, processes, devices and services. These trends are signs that stakeholders working in the data space should be aware that today’s agriculture performance relies connecting agencies and farmers. These requirements can be achieved through innovative use of data for instance creating educational programs for farmers using open data from research systems on best farming practices.  

In this regard, many speakers acknowledged the efforts Research Data Alliance (RDA) members have continued to put in moving the data agenda forward. During the pre-meeting and the main meeting numerous data-driven opportunities were mentioned. As part of the way forward, it was emphasized that development of interfaces between research, industry actors, governments, society and users e.g. farmers can be enhanced through the use of data. Moreover, the need for increased ICT infrastructure to enable practices for collaborative research and timely information access was underscored. The meeting noted explosion of intensive demand for information, innovation and data being turned into insight.

One of the interesting new dimension is the move from experienced based evidence to data-driven based evidence which is as result of increased computer intelligence over human intelligence as shown in the graph below.

While human intelligence depend on experience computer intelligence depends heavily on data.

The pre-meeting agreed on key deliverables that must be undertaken to address some of the challenges facing data management and open data debate. It also formed the action plan for the future and they include:

  1. Capacity Building for researchers, data scientists and information experts on the following areas
    • Digitization of data collection
    • Rescue of historical data
    • Skills on data science
    • Techniques for data analysis and visualization
    • Copyright & Database rights
    • Advocate for open data and information sharing policies
  2. Capacity Building for practitioners and users
    • On-farm application
    • Interpretation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) farming advisories
  3. Development of online platforms including mobile applications
    • Set up an open data and information repository for data project

Key players promoting open data principles specifically, GODAN Action, CODATA and FAO agreed to work together through partnership and collaborative frameworks in all data initiatives and projects starting with joint sessions in the upcoming IDW2018 conference. There was also a proposal for RDA education and training working group. GODAN Action also announced the next capacity building program scheduled to start in April 2018. The first program was very successful with participants from all over the globe.

The CODATA Task Group on Agriculture presented their main as Use Cases farmer data and innovation, working on weather data through establishing community of practice (COP) and last mile capacity building.  The outcome has been on ICT innovation use cases such as the agro-weather tool and other online data platforms, strengthening of adaptive capacities of users and turning data into insights as summarized below.

Some of the areas the CODATA ATG has made good progress includes: Research Informatics concepts through the developing ICT innovations, tools and systems that turn data into insights. Looking forward there are plans for training on data science, development of BIG Data platform using artificial intelligence, machine learning and data mining. One of the main achievement is the use of ICT in management and application of weather data using knowledge hub portals and mobile applications. These efforts have opened up agricultural research data space particularly downscaling and interpretation of datasets into context and location specific.

Scoping Machine-Actionable DMPs (maDMPs)

Scoping Machine-Actionable DMPs

This blog post was written by Ina Smith, Project Manager: African Open Science Platform, Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), DOAJ Ambassador, Southern Africa Region, LIASA Librarian of the Year 2016

maDMPs are a vehicle for reporting on the intentions and outcomes of a research project that enable information exchange across relevant parties and systems. They contain an inventory of key information about a project and its outputs (not just data), with a change history that stakeholders can query for updated information about the project over its lifetime. The basic framework requires common data models for exchanging information, currently under development in the RDA DMP Common Standards WG, as well as a shared ecosystem of services that send notifications and act on behalf of humans. Other components of the vision include machine-actionable policies, persistent identifiers (PIDs) (e.g., ORCID iDsfunder IDs, forthcoming Org IDsRRIDs for biomedical resources, protocols.ioIGSNs for geosamples, etc), and the removal of barriers for information sharing.

Read full blog post

Event: National Academies Report Release – Open Science By Design: Realizing a Vision for 21st Century Research, July 17 at 17:30 pm UTC

On July 17th, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Research Data and Information will host a public release of a consensus study report, Open Science by Design: Realizing a Vision for 21st Century Research.

Wide access to scientific research results has proven to be an important tool for accelerating scientific progress. An ad hoc committee under the Board on Research Data and Information (BRDI) conducted a study on the challenges of broadening access to the results of scientific research, described as “open science.” Ongoing advances in information technologies provide researchers with opportunities to share and access scientific articles, research data, and methodology. Transitioning to more open science should enable increased transparency and reliability, facilitate more effective collaboration, accelerate the pace of discovery, and foster broader and more equitable access to scientific knowledge and the research process. The committee produced a consensus report with findings and recommendations that address these issues, with a focus on solutions that move the research enterprise toward open science.

Remote participation is available via Zoom

Register here

View additional details about this event

FOSTER’s draft Open Science training courses are now open for public consultation

FOSTER Plus (Fostering the practical implementation of Open Science in Horizon 2020 and beyond) is a 2-year, EU-funded project, carried out by 11 partners across 6 countries. The primary aim is to contribute to a real and lasting shift in the behaviour of European researchers to ensure that Open Science (OS) becomes the norm. To this end, a key objective for the FOSTER project has been to develop a set of ten training courses targeted towards early career researchers.

The draft courses are now available for public consultation at We are seeking feedback from the community on how they could be improved. Please fill in the evaluation form by July 31st and provide as much information as possible to help us build courses that fit your needs.  Please note that the course quiz functionality is still in development so you won’t see any feedback or results yet but please feel free to suggest other quiz questions. The form can be accessed at:

We aimed to reuse existing training content wherever possible and have worked closely with our discipline specific partners to ensure that pointers to discipline specific tools and resources have been included. Ten draft courses covering a range of Open Science topics such as open access, research data, open source software, and open peer-review have been developed over first year of the project. To find out more about the course development, you can read a FOSTER blog post

For more on the FOSTER Plus project or to access the FOSTER portal, please see