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Virtual SciDataCon 2021 Opening Plenary Session – Scientific Data: Looking back and looking forward to future data spaces

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Opening Plenary Session

Monday 18 October, 11:00-12:00 UTC.
Register for this session:
Chair and Discussant: Bonnie Carroll, interim Executive Director, World Data System; CODATA Secretary General.
Keynote Speaker: George O. Strawn, Director Emeritus of the Board on Research Data and Information at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Respondent: Barend Mons, CODATA President.

Scientific Data: Looking back and looking forward to future data spaces

The internet age and the digital revolution promised great advancements for science and for humanity.  During the COVID-19, we have witnessed some remarkable achievements (the unprecedented speed of vaccine development) and the persistent shortcoming of the current science system (including faulty and fabricated data, inadequate data sharing).  As we begin to look beyond the pandemic, there is a new urgency in the Open Science and FAIR data movements to mobilise 21st century technology to address even more pressing global challenges, including climate upheaval, sustainable development, and disaster risk reduction.  The considerable investment in research infrastructures and Open Science Clouds are witness to this urgency, but their potential must be realised.

Our opening keynote speaker, George Strawn, predicts that the next twenty-five years will focus on artificial intelligence and data.  Supporting by the FAIR principles, the ‘Data Spaces’ of the future will maximise the automated analysis of data while retaining necessary protections.  What does this mean in practice, what are the mechanisms by which this can achieved and what are the challenges and opportunities?  Dr. Strawn will open SciDataCon with an examination of the characteristics of the different ages of information technology and their significance.  With the emergence of the Internet, IT entered its second age. As FAIR data emerges, it will enter its third age. The talk will also offer a vision of the future, highlighting the most important developments and steps to be taken to realise such future data spaces.

Barend Mons, CODATA President, will give a short response presenting a vision of the web of FAIR data and services.  The discussion will be led by session chair, Bonnie Carroll, WDS and CODATA.

George O. Strawn

George O. Strawn is the director emeritus of the Board on Research Data and Information at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine where he focused on Open Science and FAIR data. He continues this work as an NAS scholar. Prior to joining the Academies, Dr. Strawn was the director of the National Coordination Office (NCO) for the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program and co-chair of the NITRD interagency committee. Dr. Strawn held these positions while on leave from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Whitehouse.

Prior to his NITRD responsibilities, Dr. Strawn was the NSF Chief Information Officer. And prior to that, Dr. Strawn served in a number of capacities in the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE).  These included the execu-tive officer of CISE, director of the CISE Division of Advanced Networking Infrastructure and Research, where he led NSF’s efforts in the Presidential Next Generation Internet Initiative, and NSFnet Program Officer where he was part of the team that transitioned the experimental ARPAnet into the global Internet.