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Open Science and Data Policy Developments: Virtual SciDataCon 2021 Strand

Virtual SciDataCon 2021 is organised around a number of thematic strands.  This is the third of a series of announcements presenting these strands to the global data community. Please note that registration is free, but participants must register for each session they wish to attend.

The  COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated some of the benefits of Open Science practices, while highlighting persistent shortcomings in current science system. The deepening climate crisis underlines the need for targeted data gathering and action oriented research. In the policy sphere, 2021 started with the adoption of the ‘Recommendation of the OECD Council concerning Access to Research Data from Public Funding’.  November should see the adoption of a Recommendation on Open Science by the UNESCO General Conference: a major achievement which it is hoped will have a mobilising effect on Members States world-wide. The UNESCO Recommendation defines shared values and principles for Open Science, and identifies concrete measures on Open Science, with proposals to bring citizens closer to science and commitments to facilitate the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge around the world.

On Tuesday 19 October, SciDataCon will host a strand of session exploring these and other important Open Science and data policy developments.  Two sessions relate to the implementation of the OECD Recommendation. The third will include an update on the UNESCO Recommendation and other developments.

Enhancing access to research data in the health sector, Tuesday 19 October, 11:00-12:30 UTC: REGISTER

Open to everyone, this joint CSTP-CODATA workshop, organised in the context of SciDataCon 2021 (Virtual Conference), discusses the proposed roadmap for the implementation of the OECD’s Recommendation concerning Access to Research Data from Public Funding with specific focus on applications of research data to the domains of health and climate. The Recommendation aims to establish access and global sharing of research data as a major policy priority, with the ultimate goal of making the global science system more efficient and effective.

This first session will focus on how to operationalise the OECD Recommendation in relation to health data. The accumulation of health-related data in recent years has provided significant opportunities for personalised medicine and the prospect of improved prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. These data come increasingly from wearable devices, social media and GPS-tracking mobile applications. This has consequences for data governance, ownership and ethics as data gathering occurs increasingly outside of the traditional social contract of healthcare systems with implied consent and privacy protection. The ongoing pandemic has further emphasised the importance of access to data for the purpose of rapid advancement of science, which best occurs under conditions of free flow of ideas and available data. While global sharing and collaboration of research data has reached unprecedented levels, challenges remain. Trust in at least some of the data is relatively low, and outstanding issues include the lack of specific standards, co-ordination and interoperability, as well as data quality and interpretation. To strengthen the contribution of open science to the health sector, policy makers need to ensure adequate data governance models, interoperable standards, sustainable data sharing agreements involving public sector, private sector and civil society, incentives for researchers, sustainable infrastructures, human and institutional capabilities and mechanisms for access to data across borders.

Enhancing access to research data for climate research, Tuesday 19 October, 13:00-14:30 UTC: REGISTER

This second session will focus on how to operationalise the OECD Recommendation in relation to climate data. The Science of earth and environment is emerging as the Science of environmental applications, a data-intensive discipline that integrates physical, biogeochemical, engineering, and human processes, to find solutions to climate challenges. Drastically increasing volumes of data, e.g. through high-resolution satellite images, create opportunities but also challenges for data governance, storage and ownership of these data. Further, lack of standards hamper interoperability while for some data spatial and temporal gaps exist, often exacerbated by discontinuation of remote field stations which are expensive to maintain. The resulting concerns around reliability of data need to be addressed by human capacities to interpret and interpolate existing data as well as through enhanced incentives and sustainable infrastructures for further sharing of data. For this purpose, international co-operation remains indispensable. As stipulated in the 2015 Paris Agreement, open access to all climate data is necessary to monitor global fluctuations of the climate that may start with local changes but have a global impact.

The State of Open Science, Tuesday 19 October, 16:00-17:30 UTC: REGISTER

This session will explore the State of Open Science and Open Data from a policy perspective. Four speakers will describe key developments and discuss the State of Open Science from a variety of perspectives and then engage in an open discussion with participants.  What is the state of Open Science and what should be done to build on the landmark policy developments of 2021? The speakers will discuss: the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science (context, timescales, implications, how to engage and support it)! SpringerNature’s community-led approach to developing standardised data policies; Group on Earth Observation’s Data Working Group and the and the further development of GEO data sharing and data management recommendations; new initiatives for the CODATA International Data Policy Committee, including expertise, coordination and data diplomacy! The session will be introduced and chaired by Simon Hodson, CODATA Executive Director.

Virtual SciDataCon 2021 is organised by CODATA and the World Data System, the two data organisations of the International Science Council – PROGRAMME AT A GLANCE – FULL PROGRAMME – please note that registration is free, but participants must register for each session they wish to attend.