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Open Access Research Data without barriers: the Research Data Alliance Launch and First Plenary

Research Data Alliance Launch and First Plenary
March 18-20, 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden

“Sharing and cooperation are essential to science – no wonder scientists have long sought out tools to help them do this better. Remember it was scientists at CERN who invented the World Wide Web. That was a great gift of science to society: now we can ensure that it helps the scientists back.”

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda[1]

Over the last decade, significant investments have been made all over the globe for developing scientific data infrastructures to support the work of research communities and improving shared access to data. There is a common understanding that solutions must be global and that the development of an integrated and interoperable data domain can only be achieved through increased global cooperation.

As “big data” emerges as an international priority, plenty of scientists have been campaigning for a shift to open science. The Research Data Alliance (RDA) is a newly formed organization whose goal is to accelerate international data-driven innovation and discovery by facilitating research, data sharing and exchange, use and re-use, standards harmonisation for specific communities and across scientific disciplines. These goals are achieved through the development and adoption of infrastructures, policies, practices, standards and with the support of a structure that includes a council, plenary, secretariat, non-governmental structures (NGSs), and working groups.

The RDA Launch Event and its First Plenary is scheduled for 18-20 March 2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden,and it follows the First RDA Planning Meeting held in Washington DC, 1-3 October 2012. The event will be launched by sponsors from the European Commission, the U.S. Government and the Australian Government and leaders in the data community which include Vice-President European Commission Neelie Kroes; Carlos Morais-Pires, Scientific Officer, Excellence in Science DG CONNECT & coordinator, Scientific Data e-Infrastructures, DG CONNECT European Commission; Alan Blatecky, Director Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI), National Science Foundation (NSF), US; Ross Wilkinson, Executive Director, Australian National Data Service, Australia; Peter Wittenburg, Head of the Language Archive Unit at Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics at Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and Leif Laaksonen, Collaboration Director at CSC, IT Center for Science, Finland, the latter two representing the iCORDI community. The event is kindly supported by City of Gothenburg, Stadsledningskontoret, Chalmers e-Science Centre and the IT-universitet, Chalmers University of Technology and Gothenburg University. The RDA First Plenary will be a working meeting to accelerate discussion, working and interest group interaction, and data community development. The programme is available at http://rd-alliance.org/programme/.

Data Driven Experiences

“How do we deal with climate adaptation in a country that is going to be subject to climate change? How do we deal with soil which is quite sparse, and with water that is rare and precious? We want to enable researchers from many disciplines to come together to tackle all these problems. Data has to be ecumenical and available in a more general way.”

Ross Wilkinson, Executive Director, Australian National Data Service, Australia[2]

Whether they deal with marine biodiversity, addressing the impacts of natural and man-made phenomena on marine species distribution, or with urban data such as urbanization, traffic and congestion to plan urban development, there is substantial value to research data communities in establishing a common ground for interactions, data sharing and interoperation, and a powerful value add for researchers from diverse disciplines to work together.

Aspect such as “Data Sharing in the Humanities” and “Data Sharing in the Life Sciences” will be addressed at the RDA First Plenary, with spotlights on studies on a data driven research in different research fields, offering insights into the relevance of data sharing, data management and data interoperability. The RDA First Plenary agenda will highlight the experience of cross-disciplinary data infrastructure as well as of delegates from specific data initiatives around the globe, to help boosting discussions on different areas of activities and understand potential ‘win-win’ synergies.

Towards an Open Access Research Data without Barriers or Borders – the road to RDA

The Research Data Alliance is being brought into existence by an initial three research funding organisations: (i) the Australian Commonwealth Government through the Australian National Data Service (www.ands.org.au), supported by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Program and the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative; (ii) the European Commission through the iCordi project (www.icordi.eu) funded under the 7th Framework Program; (iii) the United States of America through the RDA/US activity funded by the National Science Foundation (www.nsf.gov).

RDA activities began in earnest in August 2012 with the establishment of an international Steering Group, tasked with defining its charter and organisational structures, with promoting its aims and mustering support for its activities. RDA merges the work of global data initiatives such as DAITF and DWF with support and funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Australian government and the European Union. The initiative's efforts are focused on taking forward the establishing of an open global research infrastructure, on promoting and enabling the exchange of information, while also raising awareness on the need for data sharing across scientific disciplines and empowering connecting policies, practices and standards.

About iCORDI

iCORDI aims to be the premium global forum driving convergence between emerging global data infrastructures with its prime objective being to serve as a global coordination platform chartered with improving the interoperability of today’s and tomorrow’s scientific data infrastructures worldwide.

iCORDI has a major role in the ramp-up of the RDA, focusing on providing RDA with several networking and collaboration facilities and supporting the spreading of knowledge of RDA achievements and results to the research communities in Europe and worldwide. iCORDI co-organizes the RDA First Plenary and launch conference in Gothenburg and contributes to RDA dissemination and outreach activities.

Source: iCORDI project
www.icordi.eu- icordi-info@postit.csc.fi

More about RDA

New Commission measures to open up science in Europe. July 17th, 2012. http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/neelie-kroes/open-science/

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