Crystallographic data

27th CODATA General Assembly 2010

Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa, 28-29 October 2010

The General Assembly considered the status of activities relating to its Strategic Plan 2006-2012. In line with ICSU recommendations, CODATA activities had focused on the three initiatives identified in the Plan. Work towards a global information commons had involved collaboration with Science Commons, and with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) in the development of the CC0 protocol; active partnership in the European COMMUNIA conference; and close involvement in the launch of the Polar Information Commons. The 'Sharing Data Across the Digital Divide' strand of activities had included the highly successful CODATA 2010 Conference, just ended in Stellenbosch; involvement with the GEO Data Sharing Task; authorship of a data sharing implementation White Paper; and engagement with follow-up activities to the World Summit on the Information Society. So far, initiatives under the 'ADMIRE' umbrella (advanced data methods and information technologies for research and education) were less prominent, but examples included the activities of the Global Roads Working Group. It was pointed out that the current Strategic Plan still had two years to run, allowing for more activity in this area. The General Assembly voted for a formal review of progress in the current Plan, and the establishment of a working party to prepare a Strategic Plan for the next 5-6 years, to be informed by the ICSU Plan anticipated in 2012.

A proposal to create an International Data Academy was brought before the General Assembly. The primary purpose for such an institution was to secure the services of experts in scientific and technical data management, typically those who had served CODATA in various time-limited roles as Officers or members of Task Groups; but also to provide some element of training and possible career development for younger scientists. The Executive Committee was charged with exploring how to develop such an idea into a workable prospectus.

Among activities considered to promote involvement of the Scientific Unions more closely with CODATA activities were the creation of a register of data standards sponsored by Unions (to be managed and hosted by CODATA), and the development of a 'World Visionary Meeting' workshop in association with the next ICSU General Assembly.

A short presentation was made by representatives of the Young Scientists who had been involved in the CODATA Conference; and the General Assembly formally acknowledged the activities of African scientists and their pivotal position in respect of biological, environmental and health pressures on the continent.

Beyond the administrative affairs of CODATA, the main function of the General Assembly is the appointment or re-confirmation of Task Groups charged with furthering the objectives of CODATA. Because financial support may be provided, and because the groups act as a visible face of CODATA activities, they report to and are elected by the General Assembly. The Task Groups approved by the 27th General Assembly for the period 2010-2012 are as follows (those marked with an asterisk are continuations of existing Task Groups):

  • Anthropometric Data and Engineering *
  • Data at Risk
  • Data Citation Standards and Practices
  • Data Sources for Sustainable Development in South African Development Community (SADC) Countries *
  • eGY 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
  • International Polar Year Data Policy and Management *
  • Preservation of and Access to Scientific and Technical Data in Developing Countries *

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 Robert Chen (USA; 2008-2012)
Treasurer Michel Sabourin (Canada; 2008-2012)
Ordinary Members (2010-2012): Niv Ahituv (Israel; informatics)
  John Broome (Canada; earth sciences)
  Dora Ann Lange Canhos (Brazil; biodiversity)
  Antony Cooper (South Africa; geographical information science)
  Françoise Genova (France; astronomy)
  Sara Graves (USA; computer science)
  Hiro-o Hamaguchi (Japan; chemistry)
  Mark Thorley (UK; environment)
Brian McMahon
CODATA Representative