Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Getting ready for an evolving open data environment

Yesterday afternoon, we heard from thirteen projects during a lightening talk at the EUDAT conference.  The format was effective for highlighting both areas of commonality and uniqueness between the different communities. Many of these projects are preparing the research world for the shift to open data access by ensuring data sharing and searching is both convenient and efficient.

'We are currently in a transient period in scholarly and scientific community', said Natalia Manola. The OpenAIRE plus project, is an extension of the OpenAIRE project, and is linking it's 62,000,000 open access publications to datasets and other research material. However, developing the technical infrastructure is only the first step. Uptake by researchers requires help desks, workshops and training sessions. To ensure exchange across different infrastructures and subjects areas, the project is also working with large organisations such as EBI (life sciences, DANS (social sciences), and BADC (climate change).

But what specific skills are required to make use of these emerging data infrastructure? The social infrastructure is something the UK body JISC is looking into. The SIM4DRM project is gathering evidence at an international scale in order to develop a model of best data management practices. Essentially, the project will provide a 'cookbook for all stakeholders, organisations, policy makers and funders'. Another initiative, Knowledge Exchange, has a vision of 'making a scholarly and scientific content openly available on the internet." Many changes are needed to establish the open access publishing environment including quality training/incentives (e.g. more journals for data publications) and understanding of the benefits and costs of re-using publishing and archiving data sets.

Learning from present and past initiatives is an important exercise for moving forward with sharing data. ODE (an Alliance for Permanent Access project) has carried out in-depth interviews with all stakeholder groups in order to identify the success stories and 'honourable failures' when sharing and preserving data. It boils down to a number of different areas (e.g. education, legislation, funding, data flow improvements, quality etc.) alongside the data infrastructure.  Read their report here.

Finally at a strategic European policy level, we heard from Norbert Meyer on e-IRG's recently published Blue Paper on Data Management. Coordinating discussions between different research e-infrastructures, e-IRG have identified six areas to focus on including data infrastructure, reliability and replications, unified access and interoperability, as well as security and metadata. Meyer says while integration is important specialisation is key. This means defining what kind of responsibility different communities would like like take on to drive data management forward. Every research infrastructure will have their own unique and significant contribution to make.

No comments: