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Report of * The G8 explicitly recognized the importance of datasharing issues

Dear Mike

Please find attached the 2008 annual report of the CODATA
representative, which I am also copying to the Electronic
Publishing Committee list for information.

Best wishes


IUCr 2008 Report - ICSU Committee on Data for Science and Technology

The major event for CODATA during 2008 was the biennial conference and
General Assembly held in Kyiv, Ukraine, between 5 and 8 October.

CODATA Conference
The theme of the 21st International CODATA Conference: "Scientific
information for society - from today to the future" continued the
focus on the information society that has emerged in the last few
biennial meetings. The 2008 meeting took as its keynote the importance
of engaging the younger generation of scientists to lead future
developments in a world community increasingly dependent upon
information and scientific data.

Presentations of interest to the IUCr were delivered in some of
the Plenary Lectures ("Information and knowledge as a tool in facing
global challenges"; "Interdisciplinary scientific data for sustainable
development global simulation"; "Curating data? What about curating
services and workflows?") and in the meeting sessions on
  * Long-term data and knowledge management
  * Physical science: data quality and databases
  * Data visualization approaches, at which the IUCr representative gave
    a presentation demonstrating the IUCr approach to the interactive
    visualization of data as a feature of online crystallography journal

A full meeting report is available at

General Assembly
During the course of the 2008 CODATA conference, two special sessions
were held to reduce the burden spent on reporting directly to the
General Assembly, and to allow greater involvement of conference
members. The first was on "Collaboration with ICSU Organizations and
Report from the ICSU ad hoc Strategic Committee on Data and
Information (SCID)". Its main purpose was to discuss the
recommendations contained in the report of the ICSU ad hoc Strategic
Committee on Data and Information. This Committee, following on from
the ICSU Priority Area Assessment Report of 2004, was formed to
implement the key recommendations from that report relating to the
reforms of ICSU's own structures. It acknowledged CODATA's development
of a Strategic Plan, recommended that CODATA be closely involved with
a new ad hoc ICSU Strategic Coordinating Committee, and recommended
that CODATA should work closely with the the World Data System (a
proposed reorganisation of the World Data Centres and Federation of
Astronomical and Geophysical Data Analysis Services). The second
special session allowed National and Union members of CODATA to report
on their relevant activities in the previous two-year period.

The General Assembly noted the SCID Report. It was commented that the
advisory role recommended by the Report for CODATA reflected the fact
that it was still developing focus within its evolving Strategic Plan,
and might later become more closely involved in managing the World
Data System. The General Assembly reviewed progress with the CODATA
Strategic Plan, and noted the urgent need to finalise the Plan and
roll out energetic work plans within each of its three major
initiatives (the Global Information Commons for Science Initiative,
the Scientific Data Across the Digital Divide Program, and the
Advanced Data Methods and Information Technologies for Research and
Education (ADMIRE) project).

A report of the activitities of the Secretariat described the upheaval
during the period involved in relocating the office to its new
premises at 5 rue Auguste Vacquerie in Paris, but also described the
many projects in which it had been actively involved in spite of the
disruption. The General Assembly greeted this report with acclamation.

The 2008 CODATA Prize for outstanding achievement in scientific and
technical data was awarded to Liu Chuang, Professor and Director of
the Global Change Information and Research Center at the Institute of
Geography and Natural Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, who has
been very actively involved as Co-Chair with the CODATA Task Group on
the Preservation and Archiving of Scientific and Technical Data in
Developing Countries, and who served on the ICSU Priority Area
Assessment (PAA) Panel on Scientific Data and Information.

The General Assembly also appoints or re-confirms Task Groups and
Working Groups to further the objectives of CODATA. The Task Groups
approved by the 26th General Assembly for 2008-2010 are as follows
(those marked with an asterisk are continuations of existing Task Groups):

    - Anthropometric Data and Engineering *
    - Biodiversity: observation and specimen records *
    - Data exchange and interoperability of heterogeneous data
        resources for material science and education *
    - Data on Natural Gas Hydrates *
    - Data Sources for Sustainable Development in South African
        Development Community (SADC) Countries *
    - eGY Earth and Space Science Data Interoperability
    - Fundamental Constants *
    - Global Information Commons for Science - GICSI/EU
    - International Polar Year Data Policy and Management Subcommittee *
    - Preservation of and Access to Scientific and Technical Data in
        Developing Countries * 

Australia and the UK were formally welcomed as National Members of
CODATA. Italy has withdrawn its membership.

The Officers of CODATA (terms of office in parentheses) are:
President - Krishan Lal (India; 2006-2010); Vice-Presidents - Steve
Rossouw (South Africa; 2006-2010), Gordon Wood (Canada; 2006-2010);
Secretary General - Robert Chen (USA; 2008-2012); Treasurer - Michel
Sabourin (Canada; 2008-2012). Ordinary Members of the Executive Board
are listed on the CODATA web site www.codata.org.

Other activities
CODATA European activities expanded under the COMMUNIA network signed
with the Politecnico of Turin, Italy on the 'Public Domain in the
Digital Age'. This is a European funded Thematic Network. CODATA is
taking the lead, in collaboration with other partners of the network,
on the second international conference in 2009 on Global Science and
the Economics of Knowledge-Sharing Institutions (G-SEKSI). The first
International Conference, in which CODATA participated, took place in
June 2008 in Louvain, Belgium.

CODATA built on work that started in 2006 as scientific lead on GEO
Task DA-06-01, 'Review of GEOSS Data Sharing Principles'. This
culminated in a special side event organized by CODATA in conjunction
with the GEO-V Plenary in Bucharest in November 2008, focussing
on Implementation Guidelines of the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles
prepared by CODATA.

The IUCr CODATA Representative continues to work closely with the
ICSTI Representative, Professor J. R. Helliwell, on matters of common

B. McMahon, IUCr Representative.

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