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Call for Nominations: WDS Scientific Committee 2018–2021

Call for Nominations: WDS Scientific Committee 2018–2021

The term of the current Scientific Committee will expire in June 2018 and several seats will be up for renewal. The International Council for Science and the World Data System call their respective members as well as partners organizations concerned with scientific data stewardship to nominate new members of the Scientific Committee. The Scientific Committee is the governing body of WDS as ...

EXTENSION: SciDataCon 2018 Call for Session Proposals

EXTENSION: SciDataCon 2018 Call for Session Proposals

Deadline for proposals is extended to midnight UTC on 19 February 2018: Proposals are invited for sessions at SciDataCon 2018: The Digital Frontiers of Global Science. SciDataCon 2018 will take place as part of International Data Week (IDW), 5–8 November 2018 [NEW DATE], in Gaborone, Botswana. Session proposals should be made at:  http://www.scidatacon.org/IDW2018/ .

Change of Dates: International Data Week 2018

Change of Dates: International Data Week 2018

International Data Week 2018, coming for the first time to Africa, will take place on 5–8 November 2018, in Gaborone, Botswana. This decision has been taken in order to avoid clashes with the UN World Data Forum (22–24 October) and the Plenary Meeting of the Group on Earth Observations (31 Oct–1 Nov). For this data conference taking place in Africa and which will contain as one of its ...

WDS Blog

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DOIs and Licensing for Geomagnetic Data & Products: Current Status

Aude ChambodutA Blog post by Aude Chambodut (WDS Scientific Committee Member)

The longest time series of geomagnetic data are certainly the ones acquired by magnetic observatories (Fig. 1), some of which reach a century of uninterrupted measurements.

There are currently about 200 open magnetic observatories worldwide. In each of them, absolute vector observations of the Earth's magnetic field are recorded accurately and continuously, with a time resolution of one minute or less, over a long period of time. Magnetic observatory data are 'primary data' that are extensively used in the derivation of data products ('secondary data') such as: International Geomagnetic Reference Field models, geomagnetic indices, space weather applications…

Figure 1: Paris declination series: annual means of declination corrected and adjusted to actual French National Magnetic Observatory - CLF (Mandea and LeMouël, 2016).

Figure 1. Paris declination series: annual means of declination corrected and adjusted to actual French National Magnetic Observatory - CLF (Mandea and LeMouël, 2016).

The whole community of geomagnetic observatories is particularly well organized and federated under the auspices of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA) one of the associations of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics [WDS Partner Member].

Since the beginning of the 1960’s (the birth of the World Data Centre system established in 1957 provided archives for the observational data resulting from the 'International Geophysical Year'), magnetic observatories data have been mostly publicly available (Fig. 2). Getting access to a network of stations is much more interesting than having access to just one isolated observatory.

Figure 2: Location of Magnetic Observatories (all periods) which are having at least one data ingested into the Geomagnetism Data Portal of WDC for Geomagnetism (Edinburgh, UK - http://www.wdc.bgs.ac.uk/ ).

Figure 2. Location of magnetic observatories (all periods) having at least one datum ingested into the Geomagnetism Data Portal of WDC – Geomagnetism, Edinburgh [WDS Regular Member].

The cooperative spirit within the geomagnetic community thus knows a fairly long-standing history that has had to cope with the successive technological revolutions regarding data recording (e.g., analogic to numeric; Fig. 3), but also regarding the way data are made available (from yearly books, via isolated recording supports, up to connected data repositories). In this regard, the community had practices based on fair-play and goodwill recognition of data sources/providers. Such practices worked, and would have worked for many more decades without new challenges to meet the changing requirements of users and stakeholders.

Indeed, in our increasingly connected world, it is evermore important to closely follow evolution regarding data management. Some aspects were previously not sufficiently taken into account, such as the discovery, citation, and reuse of the geomagnetic data. Nowadays, it appears no longer possible to keep sources of data for only 'informed people', and the existing licensing conditions for distribution of geomagnetic data and data products are (in part) not adequately elaborated to address this change and need to be improved.

Figure 3: Analog magnetogram of Vladivostok (VLA) 24th September 1934 (with ICSU grant-2003 at WDC for Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Moscow, Russia - http://www.wdcb.ru/stp/index.en.html)

Figure 3. Analogue magnetogram from Vladivostok; 24 September 1934 (through ICSU grant-2003 by WDC – Solar–Terrestrial Physics, Moscow [WDS Regular Member]).

IAGA has thus agreed to set up Task Forces on the abovementioned aspects, with a consensus already found when it comes to the aims of data/ data-product licensing and Digital Object Identifier (DOI) minting to:

 – Provide recognition and acknowledgement.
 – Enable creation of new data products from primary data (e.g., geomagnetic indices) or in combination with other data sources (e.g., global models of geomagnetic field).
 – Prevent the change and/or appropriation of data by a third party.
 – Enable reuse of data in a reproducible way.
 – Supply metadata that enable unique identification of a dataset, as well as providing relevant information to the user.
 – Use machine-readable and widely used licenses. 
 – Enable easy online access to research data for discovery.

The work is in progress such that it meets the state-of-art when it comes to applying licenses and minting DOI for geomagnetic data and data products, with the goal to ensure the availability into the 21st century of the tremendous efforts achieved by generations of observers in geomagnetism throughout the world.

Ensuring Scientific Data Remain a Global Public Good

Sandy HarrisonA Blog post by Sandy Harrison (WDS-SC Chair)

At the end of October last year, the members of the International Council for Science and the International Social Science Council voted overwhelming for a merger of the two organizations. The new organization—which will be called the International Science Council and which should come into being in summer 2018—will serve as a single, global voice for science and will help to provide the evidence base for, and coordinate action on, issues of public concern.

The importance of data for enabling science and for providing the necessary evidence base for action was necessarily both a major concern and discussion point during the meeting at which this historic vote was taken. Access to high-quality data from multiple disciplines is needed to be able to understand and address the complex issues facing our global society. New pluridisciplinary approaches to analyzing and modelling data will be required. And the data upon which decision-making and management of our planet rests must be open access, freely available, and subject to public scrutiny.

ICSU-ISSC Merger Announced at 32nd ICSU GA

So far, so good. However, recognition of the importance of free and open access to data is only the beginning. The new 'voice of science' in the 21st century will need to champion the infrastructure required to ensure free and open access to data. Data stewardship cannot be achieved through pious statements or international accords, it requires the existence of data stewards—organizations that are funded and supported to provide professional support for data archiving, data analysis, and data sharing.

The mission of the World Data System is, of course, to provide an umbrella for data stewards worldwide and to champion new and better ways of ensuring the continuance of our data infrastructure. But there is still a long way to go to ensure both the continued funding for the many organizations that are part of this landscape and that these organizations continue to adopt and promote best data practices.

Too much of the data compilation is currently being done by individual scientists or science teams on short-term funding; too much of the work of data stewardship is currently being done pro bono. Neither of these situations is sustainable. Thus, we must hope that the new International Science Council will make the practical issues of data stewardship in the 21st century a major focus of its work. And then we really will have something to celebrate next summer!

    The What, Why, and How of Data Management Planning

    Ingrid DilloA Blog post by Ingrid Dillo (WDS-SC Vice-chair)

    Whether your research is performed in a lab, in the field, or at the office, and with a large or small team, it inevitably involves research information, or data. These data are valuable, and deserve to be properly managed. Over the last few years, the notion that good data management is an important part of scientific practice has increasingly found widespread acceptance.

    Data management planning is the structured way of thinking about the research data you are going to collect. What type of research data will the research project produce? What format will you use? How will you store them and how can they be accessed? By thinking about these questions at an early stage and documenting your answers you will avert future problems as a researcher.

    One of the ways to think about the data collecting process is by using a format: a Data Management Plan (DMP). These formats come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the research discipline, requirements from the research funder, and local initiatives.

    A DMP can be a separate document. It helps the researcher identify and list the risks with regard to management of research data during the entire research process. Because not everything is known from the outset, it is recommended to treat the DMP as a 'living document', which can be revised and detailed periodically.

    Research funders nowadays often require that a DMP is included in the project proposal. Typically, the research proposal either contains a data section or a separate DMP is incorporated as an annex. For research funders, the reason behind it is to promote open access to research data: in their opinion, research data produced in the context of a publicly funded research project should be freely made available for reuse and verification. Recent cases of data manipulation and fraud emphasize the importance of access to the original data.

    By increasing awareness of research data management across the board—from funders, to researchers, to support staff—we can ensure that research data are handled properly, both in the present and future. More data will be available for reuse, and more data will be reused. In the end, reuse of any form will help contribute to the solutions of today's grand challenges.

    More Information on Data Management Planning

    1. In the five-minute video below, Research Data Netherlands, has listed what a DMP is and what its advantages are, and an example is given of a format and a completed DMP.
      https://youtu.be/gYDb-GP1CA4
    2. The Essentials 4 Data Support is an introductory course for those who provide support to researchers in storing, managing, archiving and sharing their research data (data support staff). With this course, Research Data Netherlands aims to contribute to the professional development of, and coordination among, data support staff. The course covers the basic building blocks of the discipline and revolves around online material. Research Data Netherlands has placed the online learning materials at everyone's disposal free of charge, based on the idea of open access and sharing knowledge. You are free to take the online course anytime at your own initiative.
      http://datasupport.researchdata.nl/en/about-the-course/
    3. Research Data Management: An overview of recent developments in the Netherlands by Marjan Grootveld (DANS) and Marnix van Berchum (Huygens ING), 2017.
      https://dans.knaw.nl/en/about/organisation-and-policy/information-material?set_language=en

    Announcements

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    CESSDA Expert Tour Guide for Data Management

    Over the past year, research data management experts from eleven organizations within the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA)—including, DANS and the Swedish National Data Service (WDS Regular Members)—have combined forces to create a detailed and thorough guide on data management across the research data life cycle. The Expert Tour Guide introduces the concepts ...

    Global Glacier Change Bulletin No. 2 (2014–2015)

    Global Glacier Change Bulletin No. 2 (2014–2015)

    The  World Glacier Monitoring Service  (WGMS; WDS Regular Member) has announced the publication of the second issue of the Global Glacier Change Bulletin series which provides an integrative assessment of worldwide and regional glacier changes at two-year intervals. It serves as an authoritative source of illustrated and commentated information on global glacier changes based on the latest ...

    New SEDAC Dataset

    New SEDAC Dataset

    A new dataset has been released by the NASA  Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC; WDS Regular Member).  India Annual Winter Cropped Area, 2001–2016 consists of annual winter cropped areas for most of India (excluding the northeastern states) from 2000–2001 to 2015–2016. The data can be used in land-cover and land-use change studies, agricultural applications, and to assist with ...

    WDS-related

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    WDC – RSER Transfers Data Holdings to WDC – Meterology, Obninsk

    The All-Russia Research Institute of Hydrometeorological Information – World Data Centre (RIHMI-WDC) has announced to the  WDS Scientific Committee  (WDS-SC) that it has discontinued the existence of WDC – Rockets, Satellites and Earth Rotation (WDC – RSER) since the topics are no longer its priorities. However, the WDS-SC is extremely pleased to learn that the data holdings of WDC – RSER will ...

    Integration of the Ukrainian science into the World Data System

    Zgurovsky et al. in Cybernetics and Systems Analysis (Volume 46, Issue 2). Abstract: Creating the World Data Center for Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development (WDC-Ukraine), its certification and integration into the World Data System are described. The main principles of the WDC and its research priorities are considered. Main projects carried out by the WDC are reviewed. One of them is ...

    Collaboration between ICSU World Data System and SCOSTEP/VarSITI

    Takashi Watanabe and Rorie Edmunds in VarSITI Newsletter, Volume 3. The International Council for Science (ICSU) has a long history of collaborating internationally on the archiving and provision of scientific data. The World Data Centres (WDCs) and the Federation of Geophysical and Astrophysical Data Services were established by ICSU during the International Geophysical Year (IGY). Building ...

    Press Releases

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