The 21st Meeting of the WDS Scientific Committee (WDS-SC) took place on 04–05 November in Paris, France. We are very grateful to our parent organization, the International Science Council (ISC), for kindly hosting the WDS-SC during its second biannual meeting of 2019 . The 21st Meeting began with an update on the latest developments in ISC by Dr Heide Hackmann, ISC Chief Executive ...
The European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2020 will be held on 3–5 May 2020 in Vienna, Austria. The World Data System of the International Science Council is leading the following session, and we would like to encourage your abstract submission by the deadline of Wednesday, 15 January 2020, 13:00 CET. Session ID: ESSI3.7 Session Title: Inspiring the Next Generation of ...
Congratulations to Dr Libby Liggins, who has been chosen by the WDS Scientific Committee (WDS-SC) as the 2019 winner of the WDS Data Stewardship Award. Dr Liggins will be presented with the 2019 Award and a prize at International Data Week 2021. Libby Liggins is an evolutionary ecologist who primarily uses molecular genomic data to address fundamental questions in population ecology, ...
Use of Data from Citizen Observatories to Complement GEOSS Repositories – Experiences from EU Funded Projects
A Blog post by Ioana Popescu (WDS Scientific Committee Member)
Citizen science is getting more and more attention worldwide; in particular, there is a growing interest in involving citizens in data collection due to its capability to complement the acquisition of data classically accomplished through existing complex instrumentation networks. Scientists have experimented with multiple forms of citizen science projects, which have been successfully implemented in many fields. The value of using citizen contributions has been proven—or at least explored—in almost all scientific domains, and its potential is currently also being investigated in the processes of decision- and policy-making.
There are many definitions of citizen science. The definition most often used is that of Buytaert et al. (2014): The participation of the general public (i.e. non-scientists) in the generation of new knowledge. In this blog post, I focus on citizen science from the perspective of data collected by citizens and the use of these data, but there is also much research looking into how to involve citizens, and consequently, how they are participating in the collection of data. Taking the latter viewpoint, there is now lots of terminology that can be found in the literature; for example, citizen observatory (CO), citizen sensing, trained volunteers, crowdsourcing, community-based monitoring, volunteered geographic information, eyewitnesses, and so on.
As mentioned in the title, I would like to spend the remainder of this blog post briefly introducing four Horizon 2020 funded projects that have used innovative technologies for collecting data with the help of citizen scientists. The projects ran from the second half of 2016 until mid-2019, and were clustered under WeObserve, which examines the challenges faced by COs in terms of awareness, acceptability, and sustainability. They shared the specific goal that their final (analyzed and processed) data products would not only complement existing data elements within the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), but also become new GEOSS contributions.
SCENT (Smart Toolbox for Engaging Citizens into a People-Centric Observation Web)
Citizens were engaged in environmental monitoring of land-cover/use changes using their smartphones and tablets, enabling them to become the ‘eyes’ of the policymakers. In particular, the project looked at two pilots—the urban case of the Kifisos river in Attica, Greece and the rural case of the Danube Delta in Romania—where the citizen-collected data were used to assess flood models and flooding patterns. You can read more about this project here.
LANDSENSE (Connecting citizens with satellite imagery to transform environmental decision making)
The focus of this project was on the potential of Earth observations taken by citizen scientists to augment and improve the way we see, map, and understand the world. Three main areas of application were selected as demonstrators: urban landscape dynamics, agricultural land use, and forest and habitat modelling. Read more about LANDSENSE here.
Data collection cycle for citizen science campaigns in water management. The study focus is highlighted in yellow. (Taken from IEEE article: Citizens’ Campaigns for Environmental Water Monitoring: Lessons From Field Experiments.)
Groundtruth2.0 (How to impact decision making with citizen observatories)
The interaction was investigated between people and technology when it comes to setting up a successful system for land and natural resources management. The project combined the social dimensions of COs and enabling technologies so that the implementation of each observatory was tailored to its envisaged societal and economic impacts with a specific emphasis on flora and fauna, as well as water availability and quality. Find out more about the project here.
GROW (Grow Observatory)
In this project, citizen scientists collected information on land, soil, and water resources to answer a long-standing challenge for space science; namely, the validation of soil moisture detection from satellites. Read more here.
Buytaert, W., et al: Citizen science in hydrology and water resources: opportunities for knowledge generation, ecosystem service management, and sustainable development, Front. Earth Sci., 2, 26, doi: 10.3389/feart.2014.00026, 2014.
A Blog post by Marc Nyssen (WDS Scientific Committee Member)
Recently, the biomedical and clinical engineers who are associated with the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE) and also belonging to the International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine (IUPESM)—the umbrella organization linking the engineers at IFMBE and the medical physics experts at the International Organization for Medical Physics—took the initiative to include competitions called ‘scientific challenges’ as a part of their conferences. The purpose of these challenges is to encourage young researchers to develop their skills by showing how they can extract information from biomedical datasets and report on their results.
A ‘challenge call’ is made public a few months before the conference alongside a deadline for the result papers, which are then evaluated by a jury. Introduced by Prof Paulo Carvalho from Coimbra University in Portugal and Prof Ratko Magjarevic from Zagreb University in Croatia, the challenges have proved quite successful, with the participation of 20–30 groups of young researchers responding to the first call.
A major problem for the organizers, however, has been to find adequate datasets containing well-documented biomedical data, such as respiratory measurements, electroencephalography recordings, electro-cardiac recordings, and the like. While many state that Big Data is widely accessible and available, well-documented and consistent biomedical datasets are difficult to find. This has resulted in the IFMBE having to actually sponsor teams to collect appropriate datasets of biomedical measurements specifically for the ‘scientific challenge’ competitions!
To address such issues, programmes are now being started that encourage universities and research groups in the Biomedical Sciences to make their datasets public while taking adequate precautions to protect the privacy of patients when such datasets are linked to physical persons. IFMBE is currently exploring practical ways to constitute collections of well-documented biomedical datasets that comply with the FAIR principles and that are made publicly available to researchers via a repository. Moreover, it is encouraging member societies at large to take up similar schemes either themselves or via universities.
To be continued...
A Blog post by Toshihiko Iyemori (WDS Scientific Committee Member)
Universities are inherently multidisciplinary and often hold a wide variety of research datasets. This makes them an ideal place to develop and test systems to manage, host, and access multidisciplinary and heterogeneous research datasets. However, the existence of such datasets and how they are preserved is not always well known. At Kyoto University, a survey was conducted by the Academic Data Innovation Unit* to gain a basic understanding of this information towards the planning of a new research data management system. The survey was sent to all researchers at Kyoto University, more than 3,000 of them, in December 2018 and we collected their responses until the end of January 2019. Although the survey was not mandatory, valid responses were received from 244 researchers ranging across the disciplines in Figure 1. From the results, we see that the largest proportion of datasets are held by the Life Sciences. This may not be the reality, however, since we received an unexpectedly low response from the Technology departments, which form the largest group at Kyoto University.
Figure 1: Responses by discipline
Figure 2 indicates the level of openness for each of the datasets identified by researchers. As can be seen, the majority of datasets are shared within a research group only and are not open to others (or even open at all). The implication is that the principle use case we need to account for on campus when developing a data management system is the sharing of data among members within each research group rather than making the data completely open.
Figure 2: Number of open and closed datasets
Despite the above, we believe that it should be possible for some researchers to make their datasets open to all if they are provided with appropriate technical support. Proper education and training on open data and data management will also assist in this process. In particular, around 20 data repositories—mostly hosted by research institutes within Kyoto University—are of especially high quality, and we would expect that about half of them could potentially become CoreTrustSeal-certified WDS Regular Members.
*The Academic Data Innovation Unit is a virtual organization at Kyoto University and is currently chaired by Prof Shoji Kajita. One of its main tasks is to propose a research data management system to accommodate the needs of all researchers at Kyoto University.
ISRIC – World Soil Information (WDS Regular Member) has been updating its soil property maps for the world (SoilGrids250m). Numerous improvements were implemented since publication of the '2017 version', making this a completely new product. A sneak preview is available here ; the full version with supporting web viewer will be released around March 2020. So far, the layers have been ...
Closing Date Extended to 30 November: RDARI: International Survey of Institutional Research Data Services
Survey Closing Date Extended to 30 November. The Research Data Architectures for Research Institutions (RDARI) Interest Group of the Research Data Alliance (RDA; WDS Associate Member) is conducting a survey of the research data management services offered by universities and research institutions around the world. This will enable comparisons to be drawn between different institutions and ...
The NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC; WDS Regular Member), operated by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) has released a new dataset. The 2015 Urban Extents from VIIRS and MODIS for the Continental U.S. Using Machine Learning Methods is a highly accurate urban settlement layer at a resolution of 500 m, using 2015 satellite data and ...
iPRES is the premier and longest-running conference series on digital preservation. Since 2004, we have had annual iPRES conferences in rotation around the globe on four continents so far. Our conference brings together 300-400 scientists, students, researchers, archivists, librarians, providers, and other experts to share recent developments, innovative projects and to collaboratively solve ...
Stockhause et al. in Data Science Journal (Volume 18, Number 20; doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2019-020 ). Abstract: The information provided in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC; http://ipcc.ch ) Assessment Reports (ARs) inform climate change policy development. Within the IPCC the scientific coordination of the ARs is conducted by three Working Groups (WGs) comprising of the ...
WDS Scientific Committee in SCOSTEP VarSITI Newsletter (Volume 18). Over the last 20 years, the exchange and availability of research data has undergone a major upheaval with the widespread use of the Internet. Researchers and research organizations, such as those involved in SCOSTEP activities, had obviously not waited for this electronic era to exchange observations, data, and ...
OpenAIRE and the ICSU World Data System (ICSU-WDS) today proudly announce the signing of an agreement to strengthen existing collaborations in the field of research data and to further develop joint activities to support the Open Science agenda.
ORCID and the ICSU World Data System share a common interest in improving how we share research information. Given their shared objectives, the two organizations decided to enter into a formal partnership with the ultimate goal to build levels of trust to enable sharing of research data.