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Working Groups

As stated in Article IIV of the WDS Constitution, the ‘WDS Scientific Committee may establish committees, working groups or task groups as needed to accomplish WDS goals and objectives’. WDS-WGs may be established to define, coordinate, and facilitate the implementation of projects or activities addressing the goals and objectives of ICSU-WDS.

Publishing Data

In the empirical sciences, data has traditionally been an integral part of scholarly publishing. However, rapid technical developments—such as digital data and high-throughput techniques—changed the scholarly publishing paradigm dramatically in the last decades, which requires new approaches to ensure availability and usability of science data. Existing approaches to address this issue are mostly technically dominated and lack success because they do not supply the necessary benefit for data producers, the wider community, and society. The concept of Data Publication is undergoing a renaissance as part of scholarly communication and on the base of new and proven technologies. Publishing data is a new and strong incentive for scientist to share their data and has positive effects on the data quality. The impact on citation rates can be seen in recent bibliometric studies on science articles providing access to underlying data.

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Knowledge Network

The Knowledge Network is a Web-based, interlinked repository of relationships between the actors and entities that make up our research landscape: people, institutions, projects, research disciplines and topics, funding sources, and the like. ICSU-WDS has a stated objective to establish an aggregation of WDS Members’ metadata holdings so that the extent of data and services offered are discoverable through a single interface. However, ICSU-WDS would also like to go further than this; it would also like to create a broader Knowledge Network in which additional information sources—including the WDS-IPO’s existing database of Member information—are used to supplement Members’ metadata by means of Linked Open Data repositories. Through this extension into Knowledge Networks, ICSU-WDS feels that it can significantly enhance the usefulness of its metadata resource and improve the ability of researchers, funding agencies, and data centre management to understand and apply this information.

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Data sharing is a hot topic. Sharing enables reuse of data by researchers who did not generate these data themselves; leading to greater efficiencies, more research, and thus a higher return on investment. Moreover, it offers researchers the possibility to combine datasets and to use them in other disciplines, as well as stimulating their usage beyond academic research. Ultimately, data sharing makes science more transparent and facilitates replication of research by others; especially important elements in upholding the integrity of research as part of the scholarly record. To ensure the quality and usability of shared data, and provide long-term preservation and access, sustainable data repositories are key components of scientific infrastructure. Repositories manage and archive scientific and scholarly data; safeguarding against the loss of substantial investment and stimulating additional research. Notwithstanding, guaranteeing the trustworthiness of a digital repository to perform the aforementioned functions is vital, and certification by an appropriate authority is fundamental in providing the needed guarantees. Repository certification promotes trust and confidence in the usability and persistence of shared data resources, and also helps the repositories themselves to improve their practices and procedures.

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Citizen Science

There is a clear indication that data policies, best practices, information systems, and domain techniques are now beginning to emerge for citizen science, crowdsourcing, and VGI projects to support more inclusive and collaborative scientific works. However, whilst some communities are already developing citizen science protocols in their subdomains, these are often highly domain specific. It may be almost impossible to derive generic rules, but by considered how to transition from generally noisy raw data collected by citizens to data of scientific value that can be stewarded by a trusted data service, a set of guidelines—or at least advice—can be generated to provide useful inputs in the early development stages to ensure there is a clean data stream from the original raw data to those archived long term, as well as advocating good practices. These issues are sociological as well as technical, and such general assessment is highly appropriate under CODATA’s leadership with WDS contributing the technical aspects.

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