SciDataCon 2014: International Conference on Data Sharing and Integration for Global Sustainability
*New Delhi, 2-5 November 2014
First Call for Abstracts and Sessions (Deadline: 30 April 2014)
There are many pressing sustainability challenges facing today’s society, from food and water security to poverty alleviation and climate change. Such challenges cannot be solved without multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, as well as the collection, sharing, integration, use, and stewardship of data across scientific disciplines and domains, and from international sources. The effectiveness and credibility not only of research but also proposed solutions will be highly dependent on the availability of well-documented, quality-assessed, and timely scientific datasets. To facilitate the work of international research undertakings (including the ‘Future Earth’ research programme on global sustainability to be launched by ICSU and its partners in 2014) and to amplify the message of like-minded global data initiatives promoting data sharing and interoperability (including the Group on Earth Observations and the recently established Research Data Alliance), SciDataCon 2014 will highlight the theme of Data Sharing and Integration for Global Sustainability.
*The SciDataCon 2014 Steering Committee* now invites proposals for sessions, and abstracts for oral presentations and posters, addressing the overarching conference theme of ‘Data Sharing and Integration for Global Sustainability’ and related themes such as those indicated below.
1. Data sharing, integration, and interoperability to address research challenges in global sustainability:
2. Big Data science and technology:
3. Development and sustainability of data services:
* Data publication and citation * Innovative approaches to data integration and interoperability * Semantic data integration * Interoperability standards and reference data * Software architecture and systems * Disciplinary and interdisciplinary case studies: environment, health, social sciences, humanities, biodiversity, climate change, materials, energy, disasters, etc. * Data-intensive scientific discovery * Large-scale computing software and systems * Presentation, analytics, learning, and knowledge discovery * Data mining and visualisation * High-impact applications * Data systems and infrastructure sustainability * Data curation and stewardship, and development of trusted repositories * Solutions and tools for research data management and data security * Rescue of scientific data at risk * Capacity building and education in data science * Private sector roles and public-private partnerships
4. Scientific data for decision making and policy:
5. International collaboration on research data:
* Assessment of the impact and economic and societal value of data * Data quality, documentation, and credibility * Data-driven models and data products for decision- and policy-makers * Citizen science and crowdsourcing * Sustainability indicators and metrics * Open government * Development of new observational and data networks * Interoperability and integration of existing data networks * Data policy and access, particularly in developing countries * Open scientific research data frameworks, including legal issues * Capacity building and advocacy * Lessons learned from past or current international research and data programmes * New opportunities to support Future Earth and other international research initiatives
Proposals should be submitted before 00:00 UTC on 1 May 2014.
Abstracts for oral presentations and posters
Proposed abstracts must be submitted online, and uploaded files must conform to the format used in the following MS Word template at http://www.scidatacon2014.org/
*Proposals for sessions* Proposed sessions must also be submitted online, and envisage a panel discussion, a workshop, or a series of papers on a coherent theme. The proposal should include information about the theme, format, and speakers, in addition to including the status of speaker invitations and their commitment.
All accepted abstracts will be published in the Conference Proceedings, following the prescribed submission format. Selected authors, who indicated their intention to submit full papers, will be invited to publish a peer-reviewed manuscript in a special issue of the CODATA Data Science Journal.
SciDataCon 2014 is jointly organized by the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) and the World Data System (WDS) interdisciplinary committees of the International Council for Science (ICSU), in collaboration with the Indian National Science Academy (INSA).
You are invited to take part in the webinar on “Open Access Progress and Promise in the CGIAR Consortium” that will take place on 10th April at 11:00am-12:00pm (CEST) 14:30pm-15:30pm in India (IST)
The presentation will provide an overview and update on the CGIAR Consortium’s progress in Open Access, including some of the challenges and opportunities of advocating for Open Access across the Consortium.
The webinar will be presented by Piers Bocock, Director of Knowledge Management and Communication at the CGIAR Consortium. He is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the Consortium’s Knowledge Management, Communications, and IT strategies, leveraging best practices in these disciplines to help the Consortium deliver on its mandate. Johannes Keizer, team leader AIMS at the FAO of the United Nations, will moderate the session.
We are looking forward to your participation. Please register by sending an e-mail to email@example.com to get the details to attend.
Vitayard is a research-sharing platform of the ‘scavenging’ type, aiming to make the process of disseminating scientific research more open. Is is a completely crowd-sourced platform, where researchers themselves pick up research content (papers and data) from Open Access repositories. Vitayard aims to incorporate not only Open Access but also Open Research into the whole process of publication of scientific research. Over some years now, the push has been towards making the process of dissemination of research more open. Scientists feel the need to have a more efficient model and Vitayard comes in here. It crawls research that is shared through the Open Access Repositories and brings out monthly issues with the selected entries.
The research publishing industry has traditionally been controlled by 3-4 business concerns, including Elsevier, who operate for their own narrow gains and completely overlooks the concerns of the scientific community at large. Open Access repositories such as as figshare, opendepot, arxiv, etc. have come up. However, the present ‘journal-system’ prevents such ideasfrom being fully successful. Various governments, universities, scientific groups and even publishing houses have been trying to make the world of dissemination of research outputs more open. arxiv is an Open Access repository run by the Cornell University. OpenDepot is another, run by the University of Edinburgh. The Macmillan publishers have let Mark Hahnel to form Figshare. Figshare in particular looks the most promising as it lets scientists to share all of their research (not only papers, but also research data, including negative reselts). The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) is a public statement of principles relating to open access to the research literature. It arose from a conference convened in Budapest by the Open Society Institute on December 1–2, 2001 to promote open access – at the time also known as Free Online Scholarship. Time has shown us how zero control by a handful of individuals over the society and complete control of the community, as a whole, over itself brings about positive changes. Less the control by individuals or groups and more the control of the complete set of individuals, more is the positive change. The history of the printing press is a case in point. While history made a mockery of the control-freaks, it proved right the few individuals, who believed in the intellectual capacity of the masses. Intellectual Nazism should be a thing of the past and we should move away from such self-defeating practices.
As more and more researchers embrace Open practices, irrespective of the influence of any kind of authority and affiliations, a new free world of debate and discussions will truly open up.
In the words of Erasmus, a Latin scholar and a Catholic reformer, ‘To what corner of the world do they not fly, these swarms of new books? It may be that one here and one there contributes something worth knowing, but the very multitude of them is hurtful to scholarship, because it creates a glut, and even in good things, satiety is most harmful…(printers) fill the world with books, not just trifling things (such as I write, perhaps), but stupid, ignorant, slanderous, scandalous, raving, irreligious and seditious books, and the number of them is such that even the valuable publications lose their value.’
Erasmus’s fear pretty much sums up the apprehensions of today’s ‘intellectual elites’ and ‘printing powerhouses’. In todays world too, the Internet has brought about a transformation of the society. This is a tool that can be used for free dissemination of knowledge and of research. However, a few people even today tend to believe that free dissemination of research (that results in free and fair debates and discussions of the works) would bring about a ‘end of the world’ situation for science. They are of the opinion that they ought to have as much control as possible over the dissemination of research works in order to keep the flag of science flying. These handful of people have the audacity to believe that they must be the ‘chosen ones’ to boss over the whole of the scientific community. These are the people who oppose Open Science and Open Knowledge movements.
–What change do we want to make? (A description of what we want to change about the status quo, in the world, your personal vision for this area)
–Vitayard is a research-sharing platform of the ‘scavenging’ type, aiming to make the process of disseminating scientific research more open. Vitayard aims to incorporate not only Open Access but also Open Research into the whole process of publication of scientific research. The researchers themselves choosing researchoutput (alongwith their comments and observations) in a truly democratic way, eliminates the need to spend heavily on the ‘Peer Review’ process. Over some years now, the push has been towards making the process of dissemination of research more open. Scientists feel the need to have a more efficient model and Vitayard comes in here. It crawls research that is shared through the Open Access Repositories and brings out monthly issues with the selected entries.
What do we want to explore? (A description of the innovations or questions we would like to explore)
–Various governments, universities, scientific groups and even publishing houses have been trying to make the world of dissemination of research outputs more open. arxiv is an Open Access repository run by the Cornell University. OpenDepot is another, run by the University of Edinburgh. The Macmillan publishers have let Mark Hahnel to form Figshare. Figshare in particular looks the most promising as it lets scientists to share
all of their research (not only papers, but also research data, including negative reselts). The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) is a public statement of principles relating to open access to the research literature. It arose from a conference convened in Budapest by the Open Society Institute on December 1–2, 2001 to promote open access – at the time also known as Free Online Scholarship.
–What we aim at is fast change by using these already existing and vastly successful Open Access repositories as the driving engines. As the Vitayard platform becomes successful in pioneering posititive changes towards a more Open World of knowledge, the future generations will benefit as they will have better access to knowledge than we have. Scientific progress will gain impetus as scientists and researchers will have truly free access to cutting edge research, with a greater chance to collaborate with each other and work together. Citizen Science too will get a boost as more and more people, outside the existing scientific community, have access to all this knowledge and are encouraged to participate in science (the Galaxy Zoo project is one example of how great an impact Citizen Science can have.). Citizen Science will become of greater importance as our knowledge of the universe piles up (for example, the classification of galaxies, nanoparticles, data analysis etc., will require the help of Citizen Scientists). In the next five years, the impact that Vitayard has on the way science is done will be measurable.
What are we going to do to get there? (A description of what we actually plan to do)
–We aim to have more editors ( or free users) on board, who will continuously pick up research items of their choice from the Open Access repositories mentioned earlier. This way, there will be a seamless marriage between such repositories and the new Vitayard system. Once successful, this is sure to disrupt the existing monopoly of the handful of publishing houses over research dissemination and bring about positive change. Scientists and researchers will have free access to the outputs of Vitayard and this way they will have even better chances of collaborating with their peers. Participation of the universities and research concerns will help in making the change faster. The numbers of our editors will not be limited as this would be a completely democratic and crowdsourced process. Besides this, we also plan to launch a research search engine in near future that will crawl the traditional journals and open up their content for the scientific community.
In ONE sentence, tell us about your project to strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation.
A truly democratic, crowdsourced process for Open Access and Open Research.
Who will benefit from what you propose? What have you observed that makes you think that?
The research community and the public in general. It will be a great step towards realizing the dream of Open Knowledge for everyone. It is about time that the whole world has Open Access to all research output. We have been beta-testing this idea for some time.
What progress have you made so far?
We have been testing the waters for the last few months and it has been a great learning-curve for us. We have a website and a blog and the largest community of researchers in India, who support Open Access to research.
What would be a successful outcome for your idea or project?
A success would mean a fruitful marriage of the ‘journal system’ and the ‘open repository system’, resulting in cutting costs that are spent on the ‘peer review’ process severely. It would also mean that a truely democratic process of publishing, crediting, and measuring the impact of research is finally achieved. Anybody (connected to the internet) would be able to have free and complete access to all the research output that is produced around the world.
Who is on your team, and what are their relevant experiences or skills?
We have die-hard enthusiasts, who have been fighting for Open Access over the years. Researchers themselves are our stakeholders and every single one of them (real ones and not fake ones though) will be an owner.
Last week I attended an Open Knowledge for Agricultural Development Convening organized by Michigan State University (MSU), OER Africa, and The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). The aim was to explore ways to “accelerate agricultural development through open knowledge practices”; we discussed innovations in open learning from the
, as well as mobiles, quality assurance for Open Educational Resources (OER), ‘Massively Open Online Courses’ (MOOCs), content repositories and sharing, and ways to measure impacts on open research, open content and open data …
MOOCs are getting massively talked about (see this COL post or wikipedia) and we heard some experiences from MSU and the Sloan Consortium. It seems to be a heavily academic-driven trend with MOOCs seen as massive tools to democratize access to higher education (and to create delivery efficiencies). …
In this weeks episode we are dealing with the topic of ‘open access’ in scientific publishing. While this might sound like a pretty dry theme, it actually gets right to the heart of one of the biggest issues of our time, the sharing of information in an increasingly digitalised world.
As previous students at the University of Manchester, Tia and I have had the opportunity to widely access science literature. A large research institution like Manchester pays tens of thousands of pounds every year in subscription fees so the staff and students need not worry about access to academic information. However once you step outside of this bubble you quickly realize that this was a privileged position, with the majority of journal articles hidden behind pay-walls. This is an issue not only for members of the public, but also many smaller institutions or colleges that simply cannot afford these subscription charges. This…
The Electronic Publishing Trust (EPT) award for individual effort in support of open access to scholarly publications in the developing and emerging countries for 2013 has been bagged jointly by Madhan Muthu, Manager, Library and Information Services International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, Hyderabad, India and Rosemary Otando, Systems Librarian, EIFL Country and Open Access Coordinator at the University of Nairobi Library, Kenya.
Hearty congratulations to the winners!
Madhan has been an active OA advocate and practitioner for more than a decade now. He has been instrumental in setting up number of OA repositories in the country. The most popular one being Eprints@CMFRI of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) an establishment under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
Madhan was also instrumental in initiating India’s first open access mandate at the National Institute of Technology Rourkela (NITR), in 2006. The OA policy at the NITR has ensured that every scholarly publication from the institute will be part of the NITR repository.
His advocacy for OA mandate has had an influence on OA mandates of other institutions in the country. For example, he has played a significant role in convincing the Directorate of Knowledge Management in Agriculture (DKMA) of the ICAR to adopt OA mandate.
Madhan has also played a very significant role in the OA mandate initiation at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future.
Madhan’s efforts in setting up number of institutional repositories in various research organizations in the country will, to some extent, facilitate better visibility to research done in those organizations. His efforts will also serve as a catalyst for other institutes and organizations to facilitate OA to their scholarly literature.
He richly deserves being the joint winner of this year’s EPT award and I wish him many more laurels coming his way.
In 2013, Dr. John Holdren, the director of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), issued a science policy memorandum requiring free public access to the published journal articles of scientific and medical researchers in the United States who received funding from agencies that receive over $1M from taxpaying citizens. His mandate was written in response to an online petition on the “We the People” website called “Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research.” The petition, which was created on 13 May 2012, pledged:
We believe in the power of the Internet to foster innovation, research, and education. Requiring the published results of taxpayer-funded research to be posted on the Internet in human and machine readable form would provide access to patients and caregivers, students and their teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other taxpayers who paid for the research. Expanding access would speed the research process and increase the return on our investment in scientific research. The highly successful Public Access Policy of the National Institutes of Health proves that this can be done without disrupting the research process, and we urge President Obama to act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research.
John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Image credit: Wikipedia.
In the official response, Holdren stated, “Americans should have easy access to the results of research they help support.” Specifically it directed “federal agencies…with more than $100 million in research and development expenditures to develop plans to make the results of federally-funded research publicly available free of charge within 12 months after original publication.” In particular, “the memorandum requires that agencies start to address the need to improve upon the management and sharing of scientific data produced with federal funding.”
Part of the problem with sharing articles and sharing data, that has been prominently featured in the scientific, medical, and mathematics literature suggests that there are serious problems underlying the research itself wherein even supplementary, selective data sets sometimes are insufficient to back the claims presented in published papers. The process of peer review is a time-honored tradition, but as science becomes more data-driven and reliant upon “big data” the necessary evidence for the acceptance of papers is not availabile, forcing reviewers to rely on their professional judgment rather than evidence. In point of fact, “90 percent of all the data in the world has been generated over the last 2 years.”
One popular saying is that it is important to “trust but verify” when it comes to science and medical research, and no one would agree more than a statistician that statistical results can be manipulated to argue the data supports a particular viewpoint or conclusion. What seems to happen in a majority of cases is that scientists make honest mistakes in drawing conclusions, based either on actual error conducting experiments or in greater than acceptable margin for errors when analyzing their results. The mandate, which covered making articles available to the public freely as well as some of the supporting data sets, did not go far enough in addressing the problem of reproducibility in science and medical fields. At a subsequent open hall public meeting, “Public Access to Federally-Supported Research and Development Data and Publications” hosted on 16-17 May 2013 in Washington DC by of the National Academies’ to discuss the changes in the mandate, two librarians, Michah Altman, Director of Research and Head Scientist for the Program on Information Science at MIT Libraries, and R. Michael Tanner, of the Association of Research Libraries, took particular note of the omission of one form of critical supporting documentation, laboratory notebooks. The 22 February 2013 memorandum itself stated, “For purposes of this memorandum, data is defined, consistent with OMB circular A-110, as the digital recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings including data sets used to support scholarly publications, but does not include laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer review reports, communications with colleagues, or physical objects, such as laboratory specimens” (emphasis is mine).
I mentioned in a previous blog post how an article inThe Economist “pointed out serious flaws in today’s non-reproducible science journal articles and the role that virtual laboratory notebooks could play in monitoring experimental studies”:
Some government funding agencies, including America’s National Institutes of Health, which dish out $30 billion on research each year, are working out how best to encourage replication … Ideally, research protocols should be registered in advance and monitored in virtual notebooks … A rule of thumb among biotechnology venture-capitalists is that half of published research cannot be replicated. Even that may be optimistic. Last year researchers at one biotech firm, Amgen, found they could reproduce just six of 53 “landmark” studies in cancer research. Earlier, a group at Bayer, a drug company, managed to repeat just a quarter of 67 similarly important papers. A leading computer scientist frets that three-quarters of papers in his subfield are bunk. In 2000-10 roughly 80,000 patients took part in clinical trials based on research that was later retracted because of mistakes or improprieties.
Similar articles discussing false, misleading, or simply non-reproducible claims, have appeared over time in some of the most prestigious scientific journals, including Nature and Science, as well as the Annals of Applied Statistics. These studies point out how, with an estimated spending of $1.5 trillion (in USD) spent globally on research and development is one with serious financial impacts. There have been numerous reports of retractions, indeed “the number of retractions due to error has grown over five-fold since 1990.” It is understood that articles published in these journals come from all over the world, so it is not just a U.S. problem but also a worldwide one. So too is the ability to claim intellectual property rights over new processes and products through the process of patenting, not limited to U. S. companies, but companies from all over the world wishing to enter the U. S. marketplace by filing a U. S. patent online with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
One major problem that results when journal article are published and patents are reviewed is that the laboratory notebooks are rarely consulted. It is usually only in cases where a litigant challenges a patent that laboratory notebooks have historically held sway. However the fact that the companies have held the notebooks in their possession, rather than the USPTO, might introduce the possibility for tampering with the evidence should notebooks be required during litigation. It seems to me a much better idea that a neutral third party, the USPTO, would hold a digital copy of these notebooks in case the need would arise to consult them. Of course there is a need to protect the intellectual property rights of patent holders for the duration of the patent. Nevertheless, should the product or process come under official scrutiny, they should be available for consultation. Similarly, because they were produced by taxes of the American people, these notebooks (with a few exceptions wherein material should be restricted) should, after the life of the patent (usually 17 to 20 years), become open and freely accessible to all as part of the public domain and be sustained as part of a scientific and medical heritage preservation effort.
Of course, not all laboratory notebooks are part of research where a provisional patent or regular patent would be filed. Other specialized data repositories exist, and perhaps these will be expanded to encompass notebooks as well. But it is my belief that a centralized national depository like the USPTO is a good start to remedying the problem of reproducibility when it comes to discoveries that will impact the public’s health, the national (and perhaps international) economies dependent upon innovations in science, medicine, and technology, as well as the investments of shareholders in these companies.
With this in mind, I open up commentary, and invite readers to sign this online petition:
“Mandate Open Access to Digital Copies of Lab Notebooks Created Through Publicly Funded Research Leading to a US Patent.” Access to notebooks improves the processes of patenting, inventing and preserving U.S. scientific and medical history. In 2013, OSTP mandated open access for federally funded research articles and data, but excluded notebooks. This petition requests expansion of the mandate. When federally funded research results in a (provisional) patent application, a digital copy of searchable, full-text notebooks should be required. Why? Without notebooks, recent studies were unable to reproduce journal findings, resulting in serious economic and; health implications for products and processes. Notebooks are evidence in patent litigation, so funding USPTO storage prevents fraud. After the life of the patent, notebooks should become public domain with an exclusion allowing transfer of classified materials to NARA. To sign the petition, visit http://wh.gov/l5gv0 before 16 February 2014. (Enter a Zip Code, if appropriate).
UNESCO has launched its Open Access Repository (OAR) making more than 300 on-line books, reports, and articles freely available. The OAR will operate under a new open licensing system developed by the Creative Commons organization specifically for intergovernmental agencies.
“The new licensing tool, developed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the UN family, makes a wealth of knowledge available to people all over the world; knowledge that can be used and reused,” said Ian Denison, Chief of UNESCO’s Publishing and Branding Section.
The launch follows UNESCO’s decision in April to become the first United Nations agency to adopt an Open Access policy for its publications. The Organization is thus making its digital publications available without cost to millions of people around the world. This change should lead to a significant increase in the circulation of UNESCO’s publications and help raise public awareness of the Organization and its work.
Currently, the Repository contains works in some 12 languages, including major UNESCO reports and key research publications. As well as the 300 Open Access publications, UNESCO will provide on-line availability to hundreds of other important reports and titles. Covering a wide range of topics from all regions of the world, this knowledge can now be shared by the general public, professionals, researchers, students and policy-makers. All new publications will be freely available under an open license.
By championing Open Access for its publications, UNESCO reinforces a fundamental goal of an Intergovernmental Organization – to ensure that all the knowledge it creates is made available to the widest possible audience. From now onwards, each new publication produced by the Organization will be released with one of the intergovernmental Creative Commons licenses and be integrated into the Repository.
UNESCO will continue to enrich its database with selected past publications and all new works.
Overall, the conference worked on the theme of Discovery, Impact and Innovation and aimed to provide an opportunity to reflect on the progress of Open Access and to consider the strategic advantages these developments bring to the research sector more generally. A broad spectrum of policy and research management issues were covered including advocacy, open innovation and alternative metrics.
There was a huge amount covered in the two days, and as always the opportunity to meet colleagues face to face after in some cases years of online collaboration was a highlight. The conference was filmed and the video recordings are linked on this page from presentations from Day One and Day Two below. The full program can be downloaded here