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Deadline extended to 31 July 2020: Essay Competition: Open Data Challenges to Address Global and Societal Issues

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CODATA Connect Working Group: Early Career and Alumni Network


The first of its kind, CODATA Connect Early Career and Alumni Network in collaboration with the CODATA Data Science Journal (DSJ) is organizing an Essay Competition for Early Career Researchers (ECR), defined as university undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate students or early career researchers within five years of completing their highest qualification. CODATA Connect exists to ensure a structural and sustained collaboration and support for the activities of the alumni of CODATA-RDA Summer Schools, of the CODATA China and Trieste Training Workshops and other early career researchers and data professionals involved in the CODATA community and those of partner organisations.

Topic for the Essay: “Open Data Challenges to Address Global and Societal Issues” 

  • Participants interested in disseminating information on research data in the sciences, humanities and the arts using essays as the medium are welcome to apply.
  • Topics might include but are not limited to human health, climate change, resilience, etc. 
  • Essays which discuss the necessary limits in openness are also in scope and are welcome (e.g. personal health information, indigenous sovereignty, etc.)
  • Essays that discuss the challenges in making data as open as possible and how such data can be used to address global and societal issues (crime, disease, governance, etc.)
  • Essays might discuss challenges at any point in the data lifecycle and in relation to any of a number of global and societal challenges.  
  • We discourage essays that simply present well known and generic arguments in favour of open data.   
  • Essays are encouraged to use local or specific examples for the benefits of open data and to discuss how challenges can be overcome in both specific circumstances and more globally.  


  • The dates for the essay writing are: 1st April to 30th June 2020. Extended Deadline 31th July 2020
  • The Essay Writing Competition is open to all CODATA-RDA Summer Schools Alumni and any Early Career researchers.
  • The essay writing time is 3 months and the length of the essay should be 2000-3000 words. References do not count as part of the word limit.
  • Each essay must contain the full name(s), affiliations and contacts details of the authors.
  • Essays are only accepted in the English language.


The panel of judges consists of representatives from the CODATA community and editors of the CODATA Data Science Journal. The judges’ decision is final and may not be appealed. The review process will be single-blind: judges will not know the identity of the authors.


Essays should be interesting, original and provocative but also clearly situated in a body of knowledge. It is important that authors show an appropriate knowledge of the chosen research area for discussions. Other criteria include but are not limited to:

  • Contemporary relevance of the topic to the science of data.
  • Demonstrated awareness of the state of discussion around the topic. Essays do not need to include a comprehensive literature review, but must illustrate where their argument fits into broader discussion in the field.
  • Strength and persuasiveness of the argument, underpinned by reference to literature, evidence and data.
  • Clarity of writing and appeal of writing style.


Essays cover topics and controversies of interest to the community and aim to stimulate discussion and debate. Essays may be provocative and less focused on reporting original research work but should still consist of original thoughts and ideas. Essays should be no longer than 3,000 words in length. The content of the essay should be at the author’s preference.  

More information on the criteria for essay submission at the DSJ can be found here:


  • The winning essay will be published in DSJ for free and the winner will receive a trip to the CODATA Symposium in October 2020 or future CODATA event as appropriate along with a formal certification of their achievement.
  • Shortlisted essays will be invited for submission to the CODATA Data Science Journal (the usual peer review, article processing charges and waiver terms will apply).


  • The deadline for submitting the essays is 23:59 UTC on Friday 31 July 2020. Essays should be submitted at Click Here or sent by e-mail as pdf attachments to
  • Please make sure that you write “Essay Writing Competition April 2020: Your Name [Surname, Firstname]” in the subject of your email. 
  • Please ensure that the PDF of the essay does not include any information about the author.
  • Please provide your Name, Degree, Address and Institutional Affiliation in the covering email or in an accompanying document BUT NOT ON THE PDF OF THE SUBMITTED ESSAY. 
  • If you are in the ECR category please provide the date of completion of the last degree with the PDF of the essay in one email.


The selected essay winner will be announced on the CODATA website by Saturday 15 August 2020. The winner will also be contacted through the CODATA Connect email.

CODATA reserves the right to publish the winners’ name and affiliation, as well as the winning essay on the CODATA Data Science Journal: 


For further enquiries and information, contact: