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October 2014

WDS at ICSU's 31st General Assembly

Bernard Minster (Chair of WDS Scientific Committee) and Huadong GUO (President of CODATA)Bernard Minster (Chair of WDS Scientific Committee) and Huadong GUO (President of CODATA)

Bernard Minster (Chair of the WDS Scientific Committee [WDS-SC]) and Mustapha Mokrane (WDS Executive Director) officially represented the World Data System at the 31st General Assembly of the International Council for Science (ICSU GA) held on 30 August–4 September in Auckland, New Zealand.

Professor Minster presented to the ICSU GA plenary the WDS triennial report, which was well received. The Assembly resolved that WDS should continue its mission, and thanked Japan for hosting and funding the International Programme Office.

One of the highlights of this meeting was the endorsement of a set of open access principles (see below). This is of utmost interest to WDS, since it will facilitate the process of redefining and revising the WDS Data Policy, and clarifying the legitimate restrictions to open access.

Several other meetings were directly related to the open access issue, particularly in the context of scientific research data. At the ICSU National Members' and International Scientific Unions' fora, Dr Mokrane expressed the views of WDS on the subject of open access and on endorsing the principles to which WDS Members have contributed. In addition, an Open Data for Open Science event was organized by the UK Royal Society and the Committee on Data for Science and Technology, and featured a keynote from Professor Geoffrey Boulton who coordinated the influential UK Royal Society Science as an Open Enterprise report.

Open Access and Misuse of Metrics

Open access logoThe General Assembly of the International Council for Science (sponsor of WDS) endorsed open access principles and provided key recommendations guarding against the misuse of metrics in the evaluation of research performance. In a strong show of support for open access to the scientific record, the Assembly—which unites representatives of 120 National Scientific Academies and 31 International Scientific Unions—voted for the statement, which stakes out 5 key goals for open access and offers 12 recommendations that pave the road for attaining them.

Final preparations for SciDataCon and WDS Members' Forum

SciDataCon 2014 LogoThe very last stages of preparation are now being put in place for SciDataCon 2014. In particular, the finalized Scientific Programme is available on the Conference website, with links to all of the session abstracts. The Programme will also include a Prize Ceremony, during which the inaugural WDS Data Stewardship Award will be presented.

It is expected that about 200 people will join us at the Jawaharlal Nehru University Convention Centre in New Delhi for the first of what we hope to be a long-standing series of joint Conferences by WDS and the Committee on Data for Science and Technology. This is seen as an admirable starting point for continued growth and success in future SciDataCon events.

Prior to SciDataCon 2014, ICSU-WDS' biennial business meeting, the WDS Members' Forum, will be held at 09:00–16:00 on 2 November in the Conference venue. It will be attended by around 60 participants, of which 45 are WDS Member Representatives. This meeting is open to anyone with an interest in ICSU-WDS, and will consist of two parts:
  • A Scientific Session, in which WDS Members will give poster and oral presentations updating their organizations' activities over the previous two years, and engage with other (current and possible future) Members.
  • A Plenary Session, which will provide a formal mechanism for membership consultation, and where membership issues will be discussed.
Further details on the Members' Forum—included a download package of meeting materials—can be found here.

ICSU's Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) and World Data System (WDS) are collaborating to organize a joint conference, SciDataCon 2014 on 2–5 November 2014 in New Delhi, India. Highlighting the theme of 'Data Sharing and Integration for Global Sustainability', this will be a major international conference addressing various issues relating to data and international research.

DataCite and ICSU World Data System Announce Cooperation

DataCite logoDataCite and the ICSU World Data System (ICSU-WDS) announce an agreement to strengthen their collaboration and enhance the availability of high-quality scientific data to researchers worldwide.

To accomplish this, the two principal membership organizations will cooperate more closely through joint working groups leading to results that will benefit their communities. They will also enhance strategic exchange and communication among their Members. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the organizations clearly states their intention to coordinate efforts in areas of mutual interest, such as data publishing and improving discoverability of trusted data services that support scientific research activities.

Read the full Press Release here.

WDS Member Activities

SoilGrids1km System and Data Freely Available to the International Community
ICSRIC LogoISRIC – World Soil Information (WDS Regular Member) has released an automated information system for global soil mapping at a resolution of 1 km (30 arc second). The system, known as SoilGrids1km, is the result of international collaboration and data sharing. The SoilGrids system is intended to facilitate global soil data initiatives—such as currently undertaken within the Global Soil Partnership—that are aimed at addressing a wide range of global environmental and societal issues (see Plos ONE 2014). The web service and data can be accessed freely at

New Release of Fluctuations of Glaciers Database
WGMS logoThe World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zurich (WGMS; WDS Regular Member) has recently completed a new release of its Fluctuations of Glaciers database. The current version comprises reported observations on glacier changes up until the observation period 2011–2012 including:
  •  5,300 glaciological balances from 413 glaciers
  •  920 geodetic balances from 446 glaciers
  •  44,000 front variations from 2,340 glaciers
  •  420 special event reports from 295 glaciers
For a detailed overview and quick data access, please use the WGMS MetaData Browser.

New Members of ICSU-WDS

Since the last Newsletter in August, the WDS-SC has reviewed and accredited
One Regular Member: In addition, One Partner Member: and One Associate Member: were co-opted.

WDS broadcast Publishing Data Webinar

Publishing Data Webinar VideoThe third Webinar for WDS Members and other interested Data Services took place on Thursday, 2 October 2014. The topic of this Webinar was the Publishing Data initiatives being undertaken through a joint effort of ICSU-WDS and the Research Data Alliance, and attendees were updated on the current activities of the various Interest and Working Groups.

A video of the Webinar is available through the Webinars page on the WDS Website.

Strengthening ties between ICSU-WDS and SCOSTEP

As fellow Interdisciplinary Bodies of ICSU, the World Data System and Scientific Committee on Solar–Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP) are exploring potential collaborative efforts through the new SCOSTEP Variability of the Sun and Its Terrestrial Impact (VarSITI) programme. As an initial stage, Takashi Watanabe (Senior Advisor) and Rorie Edmunds (Programme Officer) of the WDS-IPO recently wrote an article on collaboration between the two organizations that appeared in the October 2014 edition of the VarSITI newsletter.

Future Events

2014 WDS Members' Forum
02 November 2014, New Delhi, India
See above for details.

SciDataCon 2014
02–05 November 2014, New Delhi, India
See above for details.

11th Meeting of the WDS Scientific Committee
06–07 November 2014, New Delhi, India
The WDS-SC will convene at the Jaypee Vasant Continental Hotel in New Delhi for the second of its biannual meetings of 2014.

Eleventh Plenary Session of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO-XI)
13–14 November 2014, Geneva, Switzerland
GEO-XI, hosted by Switzerland, will take place on 13–14 November 2014 at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva. An important aspect of this meeting will be to review the draft of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems Implementation Plan for 2015–2025 that will guide GEO's work for the next ten years.

2014 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting
15–19 December 2014, San Francisco, USA
Now in its 47th year, the AGU Fall Meeting brings together nearly 24,000 attendees from the Earth and space sciences community for discussions on the latest trends, research, and challenges, through greater than 1700 sessions categorized into broader interdisciplinary themes to encourage attendees to explore beyond their primary fields of interest.

This meeting will be attended by Mustapha Mokrane, and Bernard Minster and Wim Hugo of the WDS Scientific Committee, and three WDS-related presentations will be given:

Past Events

DataCite 5th Annual Conference
25–26 August 2014, Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France
The 5th Annual Conference of DataCite (WDS Partner Member) was organized by Inist-CNRS and was entitled 'Giving value to data: advocacy, guidance, services'—taken from DataCite’s current Strategic Plan and expressing its general mission and domains of action. The conference also celebrated that 2014 marks the 10-year anniversary of the first Digital Object Identifier minted for research data.

Mustapha Mokrane was invited to this meeting to give a presentation on 'Data Publishing within the ICSU World Data System' that covered: (1) possible collaborations between ICSU-WDS and DataCite, (2) the question of the quality data providers and the metadata DataCite serves, and (3) DataCite’s crucial role in the WDS Knowledge Network concept. The conference was also attended by Françoise Genova (WDS-SC), who gave the final keynote 'Data Sharing and Interoperability'.

ICSU 31st General Assembly
28 August–04 September 2014, Auckland, New Zealand
See above for details.

RDA Fourth Plenary Meeting
22–24 September 2014, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Fourth Plenary of the Research Data Alliance took place in Amsterdam, hosted by Data Archiving and Networked Services. ICSU-WDS had good presence at the Plenary, organizing a number of coordinated breakout sessions on Data Publication and on Repository Certification, as well as a Science Stream on Knowledge Networks. The Data Publication Interest Group session was particularly successful; attaining the largest audience in the Plenary, with greater than one-quarter of the participants in attendance.

ICSTI 2014 Annual Conference
20–21 October 2014, Tokyo, Japan
The International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (WDS Associate Member) held its 2014 Annual Conference at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. The conference consisted of three presentation sessions under the theme 'Information and Infrastructure for Innovation – New Approaches for Knowledge Platforms'. In the first of these sessions—Open Platform for Data Sharing: Information Framework, Big Data, Open Access and its Implications—Mustapha Mokrane gave a talk on the 'ICSU World Data System: Trusted Data Services for Global Science'.