Open Data and Information for a Changing Planet

Taipei, Taiwan, 28-31 October 2012

The overall headline of the Conference was "Open Data and Information for a Changing Planet", indicating the emphasis in recent years on CODATA's probably natural preoccupation with the societal impact of scientific data. There were Keynote Lectures for example on Climate change, Disaster Risk evaluation and Open data access in science.  Especially interesting was to learn of advanced plans, reaching actuality, within particle physics to use cloud storage for both very large data sets (petabytes per years per major centre); this is highly relevant to synchrotron X-ray facilities as this could thereby be a way forward to assist inter-facility collaboration as well as access by users to their data. The sessions on access to data from the literature showed that several science disciplines are only now organising access to the data from publications. Panel discussion topics included Open data access and Ethics in Data. IUCr was actively involved in the two Data Mining Microsymposia sessions. A new session was introduced at this CODATA conference for Early Career Scientists.

John R. Helliwell presented a talk, co-authored with Brian McMahon, on Data archiving in crystallography and the activities specifically of the IUCr Diffraction Data Deposition Working Group. The second Data Mining session was Chaired by John R. Helliwell. Two talks were presented. An impromptu Panel discussion was convened to discuss the current perspectives on data mining from a learned-society publisher (IUCr), a commercial publisher (Elsevier) and a technical specialist (working for the UK Office for Library and Information Networking (UKOLN) and the Digital Curation Centre). Both scientific data and medical data featured in inputs from the audience as well as the perceived need for incentives for scientists to link data to their publications more extensively than is current practice. Developments in University Archives were surveyed through the example of the UK, since those present had knowledge of projects at Manchester, Edinburgh, Bath and Southampton, including Archives already in existence (Bath and Southampton) or nearing launch (Manchester).

Both IUCr Representatives participated in the sessions organised by the CODATA-ICSTI Task Group on Data Citation Standards and Practices (of which Brian McMahon is a member). The Task Group is currently focusing on writing a report surveying current practices, and developing advocacy (for disciplines where scientists still need to be persuaded to engage fully in the practices of attribution, citation and linking necessary to establish the "first-class" status of scientific data).

The full scientific programme can be found on the CODATA Conference web site.

CODATA Prize 2012

The CODATA Prize was awarded to Michael F. Goodchild, Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

John R. Helliwell and Brian McMahon
Incoming and outgoing CODATA Representatives
6 November 2012

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