28th CODATA General Assembly 2012

Taipei, Taiwan, 1-2 November 2012

The IUCr delegation comprised John R. Helliwell (incoming and voting IUCr Representative) and Brian McMahon (outgoing IUCr Representative).

A special agenda item was a progress report by K. Ravio (ICSU Vice President, Finland) of the ICSU Review of CODATA, conducted as part of ICSU's regular review and evaluation of its component and affiliate bodies.

The CODATA Strategic Plan 2013 to 2018 was reviewed by the GA Delegates and will be finalised by the Executive. A significant development was the acceptance of the Executive recommendation to allow in future At-large (i.e. individual) members. Two new country members were approved (Finland and Mongolia). All existing Task Groups were approved for renewal. Of special note for IUCr is the Task Group on Data Citation Standards and Practices, whose workshop and conference sessions we attended. Three new Task Groups were approved related to data in Microbiology, in Weather and in Global Disaster risk.

The recently established (2011) Nanomaterials standards collaborative project with ICSU, ISO and OECD was reported on and is Chaired by John Rumble, formerly of NIST and past CODATA President. It was commended and noted that it has 20k Euros EC funding. The IUCr was invited to submit a working member to this project; this will be John R. Helliwell.

A Working Group for Early Career workers was established for two years to help structure their work towards the establishment of a more permanent group.

The Data Science Journal is being reviewed, including possible links to a commercial publisher; the preferred funding model was agreed to be 'green Open Access' so as to retain the flexibility of reader or author payments, rather than Gold with its restriction to author-only fees payment.

There was a resolution to investigate the use of an Open Knowledge Environment to promote the communication of CODATA's activities to the membership and world at large.

The CODATA Conference 2014 was approved to be in New Delhi, India, to be held in late October.

The newly elected Secretary General is Sara Graves, Professor of Information Science at University of Alabama in Huntsville. The newly elected Treasurer is Prof. John Broome, Canada. There were eight newly elected Ordinary Members of the Executive Committee.

A history of CODATA over the last 45 years written by the participants from these early years, Gordon Wood and David Lide, was distributed; the continuous presence of IUCr throughout the whole period is well documented with its timeline of active Representatives including Olga Kennard, David Watson, Brian McMahon and, now, John R. Helliwell. 

Organisational aspects

Two features were highlighted: First, the use of Twitter via a #codata2012 hashtag generated ~350 tweets through the conference, including contributions from the CODATA and the CODATA_Canada Twitter account feeds. The implications most immediately are that we could set up Twitter accounts for CODATA and ICSTI events, whereby the IUCr Representative could feed tweets to followers interested in these events, in addition to the formal reports after the events.

Second, outreach featured in the conference Panel discussion and the General Assembly. The suggestion was made by JRH to outreach via the CODATA website specifically to politicians (but equally to the public and schoolchildren), with concise information conveying "Things you need to know about data". This could have a drop-down menu with links on The nature of data, How we estimate uncertainties in data etc.

List of Task Groups 

The Task Groups approved by the 28th General Assembly for the period 2012-2014 are as follows (those marked with an asterisk are continuations of existing Task Groups):

  • Advancing informatics for microbiology
  • Anthropometric Data and Engineering *
  • Data at Risk *
  • Data Citation Standards and Practices *
  • Earth and Space Science Data Interoperability *
  • Exchangeable materials data representation to support scientific research and education *
  • Fundamental Constants *
  • Global Information Commons for Science - GICSI/EU *
  • Global Roads Data Development *
  • Linked open data for global disaster risk research
  • Octopus: mining space and terrestrial data for improved weather, climate and agricultural predictions
  • Preservation of and Access to Scientific and Technical Data in Developing Countries *

List of Officers

The Officers of CODATA through the next General Assembly are

President Huadong Guo (China; 2010-2014)
Vice-Presidents Takashi Gojobori (Japan; 2010-2014)
  Fedor Kuznetsov (Russia; 2010-2014)
Secretary General Sara Graves (USA; 2012-2016)
Treasurer John Broome (Canada; 2012-2016)
Ordinary Members (2012-2014): Niv Ahituv (Israel; information technology management, Internet studies)
  Alok Bhattacharya (India; computational biology and informatics)
  Bonnie Carroll (USA; information science)
  Hiro-o Hamaguchi (Japan; chemistry)
  Der-Tsai Lee (Taiwan; computer science)
  Refiloe Mabaso (South Africa; information knowledge management)
  Mark Thorley (UK; research data management)
  Mary Zborowski (Canada; information science/physics)

John R. Helliwell and Brian McMahon