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RDA and ICSU-WDS Announce the Scholix Framework for Linking Data and Literature

eDS

New framework presents vision and guidelines for linking research data and literature using a common, global approach. The  Research Data Alliance  (RDA) and the International Council for Science  World Data System  (ICSU-WDS) announce a new global framework for linking publications and datasets.  The Scholix framework — Scholarly Link Exchange —represents a set of aspirational principles and ...

WDS-convened Session at AGU 2016 – Call for Papers (Deadline: 3 August)

Paper contributions are invited for the session Publishing and Managing Data: The case for Trustworthy Digital Repositories accepted in the Earth and Space Science Informatics focus group at the AGU 2016 Fall Meeting . This session is expected to highlight the important role played by the WDS community in seizing the opportunities and addressing the challenges outlined in the below ...

Call for Papers for SciDataCon 2016 Now Closed!

Following numerous requests, the deadline for submitting abstracts to  SciDataCon 2016  was extended until Monday, 30 May. With that deadline passed, we would like to confirm that the submissions system has now been closed. Thank you to everyone for your poster and paper abstracts, the response to the Call has been overwhelming! A reminder that online registration  is open for International ...

WDS Data Stewardship Award 2016: Call for Nominations Closed!

CODATA23

The Call for Nominations for the 2016 WDS Data Stewardship Award has been closed. Thank you to everyone who has made a nomination for this annual prize directed towards early career researchers. The WDS Scientific Committee will now examine all of the nominations received and select the  2016 winner, who will be presented with their Award alongside the 2015 awardee, Dr Yaxing Wei ( ORNL ...

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ICSU ROLAC – Science Officer Vacancy (Deadline: 29 July)

Position: Science Officer
Location: San Salvador, El Salvador.
Closing date: July 29th, 2016. Interviews will be held in the first two weeks of August. Depending on the candidates' country of residence, interviews could be held at ICSU ROLAC office´s at El Salvador or via Skype.
Position begins: Mid-August, 2016.
Salary: Around $4,500 USD net per month (before income tax), dependent on experience and qualifications of the candidate.

Background

ICSU Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC) was created in 2007, It is currently hosted by the Mexican Academy of Sciences (AMC) in Mexico City, Mexico, but will move to its new host country El Salvador in August. Representatives of scientific institutions of the Latin America and Caribbean Region selected four items to be developed by the Regional Office: Biodiversity, Disaster Risk Reduction (DDR), Sustainable Energy (SE), Teaching of Mathematics and Urban Health.

Role

Reporting to the Regional Director, the Science Officer assists with the scoping, planning, and implementing of ICSU’s initiatives. They liaise with the ICSU family and regional scientific organizations with the aim of establishing short- and long-term collaborations. They present activities proposals for receiving funding and report the activities of the Office.

Responsibilities

Management and Planning (45%): Produce reports, reviews, and plans for ongoing initiatives. Coordinate and/or give scientific orientation on work in ICSU ROLAC's priority areas, and support their Steering Committees. Prepare the Annual Business Plan of ICSU ROLAC according with ICSU Strategic Plan and the directives of the ICSU ROLAC Director. Prepare documents and meeting materials.

Resource management (25%): Prepare proposals for funding agencies to obtain grants for ICSU ROLAC activities, and elaborate corresponding intermediate and final reports. Perform, as necessary, other duties (including simple daily tasks) required by the Director of ICSU ROLAC.

Communication and Networking (20%): Liaise with ICSU Headquarters, ICSU Regional Offices, ICSU Interdisciplinary Bodies, and ICSU Members. Identify and liaise with relevant scientific organizations in the region. Help create scientific networks in areas of DRR and SE in the LAC region, intended to provide expert opinion on current crucial issues for policy-makers. Build relationships with scientists and other stakeholders, both formally and informally, at international level. Facilitate people working together, provide encouragement and get meetings to work. Solve diplomatic issues. Come up with solutions to challenges. Edit the Annual Report of ICSU ROLAC and assist developing outreach and PR materials, such as research reports and articles.   

Representation (10%): Represents ICSU ROLAC at local and international events and promotes its activities.

Profile

Education: PhD in Science
Expertise: Natural or social science discipline, management
Skills  Required: MS Office, Google Apps for Business, electronic databases and websites, presentation skills. A+: Project management experience.
Experience: From 5 to 10 years in international science management environment.
Languages: English – educated native proficiency, Spanish – educated native proficiency. An additional language would be a plus.

Applicants are requested to address the above description and qualifications in a cover letter and attach their curriculum vitae with the name, contact details and recommendation letter of three referees from the work field of the solicitant. Applications (preferably in one combined PDF file) should be addressed to Prof. Manuel Limonta, Director ICSU ROLAC and sent via email with ‘Science Officer’ in the subject line to .

Only selected candidates will be contacted. Candidates called in for an interview are encouraged to thoroughly review ICSU´s website (www.icsu.org), particularly the section corresponding to the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Contribution to Long-term Environmental Monitoring

Arona DiedhiouA Blog post by Arona Diedhiou (WDS Scientific Committee member)

The world as a whole faces many more changes in its climate than it did in past decades. Such global changes have direct impacts on both the social and economic aspects of our lives (human activity), as well as on the environment. To comprehend the complexity of these phenomena and their effects on the aforementioned sectors requires in-depth investigations. To this end, environmental observations can supply information about past climates while providing benchmarks for comparison with future changes. The observations hence serve as a basis for assessing potential impacts and for planning adaptation measures and mitigation policies against them.

The Institute of Research for Development (IRD, France) has been involved for many years in observing the environment in intertropical zones. The observation systems it has put in place are an integral part of the research carried out by IRD and its partners in developing countries. The ongoing operation of these systems is essential to gain an understanding, over a sufficiently long period, of variations in both environmental processes and major cycles within the current context of climate change and accelerated development of human activity.

The observatories are jointly operated and managed with partners from the South and the North, which promotes North–South and South–South exchanges. They back up data and results, make them available to scientific communities, and disseminate them to a wider audience. These actions thus build on and complete environmental monitoring efforts carried out in each country by local organizations or inter-governmental entities—which include training and technology transfer initiatives and an aim to foster academic training in topic-based schools.

Together, with standard observational procedures and certified data, we can overcome these global issues.

For more information on IRD's climate surveillance systems, please go to: https://en.ird.fr/climate/research-on-climatic-change/environmental-research-observatories

CODATA Workshop on Data Citation – 12 July; Washington, D.C.

The Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA; WDS Associate Member)—through its Task Group on Data Citation, the CODATA US National Committee and the National Research Council’s Board on Research Data and Information—is organizing a one-day workshop on Data Citation: Developing Policy and Practice.

This free workshop takes place on 12 July at the National Academies of Sciences in Washington, D.C., and continues an international series of events organized in 2015 and 2016. It is targeted at data professionals and is focussed on increasing awareness and encouraging policy and practice in support of data citation. Attendees will hear perspectives on the value, use, and challenges of data citation from various stakeholders, including: publishers, editors, data managers, federal agencies, and authors.

To join the workshop, please register here:

Yet Another Paradigm Shift…

Wim HugoA Blog post by Wim Hugo (WDS Scientific Committee member)

At the recently completed European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016, I was one of the participants in a double session called "20 years of persistent identifiers – where do we go next?". Apart from reviewing the obvious elements, issues, and benefits of persistent identification—and agreeing on the success of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) Working Group on Data Citation and their excellent set of 14 guidelines for implementation—we also had a number of robust discussions; not least because Vienna was an airport too far for some of the presenters, leaving us with free time.

Firstly, most of us agreed that being able to reproduce the result of queries (and potentially other transformations or processes) applied to data or subsets of the data was the hardest of the guidelines to implement.

One can deal with this by keeping archived copies of all such query and transformation results (painless to implement, but potentially devastating from a storage provisioning perspective), or one could opt to store the query and transformation instructions themselves, with a view to reproducing the query or transformation result at some point in the future.

This second option equates to always starting with base ingredients (egg yolks, lemon juice, butter, and maybe mustard or cayenne) and to store this with a recipe (in this case for Hollandaise Sauce). This option is also painless to implement, until there is a change in the underlying database schema, code, or both—in which case one will have to (potentially almost ad infinitum) maintain backward compatibility so that historical operations continue to work, or maintain working copies of all historical releases for the purpose of reproducing a query or transformation result at some point in the future. Clearly this is not very practical.

By the way, there were some excellent ideas on how to record recipes systematically: Lesley Wyborn presented work on defining an ontology whereby queries and transformations could be documented as an automated script, and Edzer Pebesma and colleagues are conceiving an algebra for spatial operations with much the same objective in mind.

This approach, of course, requires an additional consensus: at what point do we store results as a new dataset instead of executing a potentially longer and longer list of processes on original data? There must be some value to buying Hollandaise Sauce off the shelf for our Eggs Benedict—at least some of the time.

Secondly, all of this trouble is required to achieve either one or both of two objectives: reliably finding the data referenced by a citation (via a digital object identifier or other persistent identifier), and supporting reproducibility in science. This last point was enthusiastically agreed on by most (one or two abstained, and there was one dissenter):

"Science Isn’t Science If It Isn’t Reproducible".

This assertion set me thinking about the process of reproducing results in the new world of data-intensive science, a world in which code and systems are increasingly distributed, reliant on external vocabularies, lookups, services, and libraries (that may be themselves referenced by persistent identifiers). None of these resources, which may have a significant outcome on the result of a process should they change, are under the control of the code running in my environment. Which brings us to Claerbout’s Principle:

"The scholarship does not only consist of theorems and proofs but also (and perhaps even more important) of data, computer code and a runtime environment which provides readers with the possibility to reproduce all tables and figures in an article."

Easier said than done. We can, of course (as we should in a world of formal systems engineering) insist on proper configuration control and versioning of all components, internal and external, but I am not convinced that the research community is ready for this level of maturity—typically reserved for moon rockets and defense procurement, with orders of magnitude in additional costs. Perhaps more importantly, the scientists writing code are not going to invest time and effort to document, version, and package their code to a standard that supports reproducibility. Hence, the code that we use to transform our data, whether we like it or not, will not automatically produce the same result at some unspecified point in the future, and much more so if it has external web-based dependencies (which, in turn, may also have external dependencies). There is some utility in packaging entire runtime environments (much in the way that one could persist the result of a query or transformation), but this does not solve the problem of external dependencies.

Which raises an interesting dilemma: in the world of linked open data, the semantic web, and open distributed processing, the state of the web at any point in time cannot be reproduced ever again—which may create significant issues for reproducible science if it uses any form of distributed code.

Not only that! As we rely more and more on processing enormous volumes of data by digital means, we will depend more and more on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automated research. As the body of knowledge available to automated agents changes, so presumably, will their conclusions and inferences.

So...we need a new consensus on what science means in the era of data-intensive, increasingly automated science: our rules, notions, and paradigms will soon be outdated.

Fitting subject for an RDA Interest Group, I would think.

Some interesting additional reading:
http://www.nature.com/news/reproducibility-1.17552
http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/wiki/pub/Main/MattShotwell/MSRetreat2013Slides.pdf

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