3- Facilitating Open Exchange of Data and Information

Introduction

There has been a significant trend toward free and open access to data in the last few years. At the GEO Summit in Cape Town, South Africa 2007, the US announced that Landsat data would be available at no charge. The Chinese and Brazilian offered CBERS (satellite) data to Africa at no cost. GMES Sentinel system subsequently offered similar opportunities. Float data from the US (NDBC), JCOMM and OceanSites offer web-based access. However, this global trend is less robust when the observations occur in national waters. Restrictions on data are at the discretion of the national government and vary significantly from country to country.

While there are many technical issues for open access (see next sections), the policy and cultural issues, even within the ocean/academic community will dominate discussions. For example, SCOR and IODE are looking at the challenges of career advancement for publishing quality data without interpretive analyses. Historically, data is sequestered, sometime for years, while preparing analyses and publication. Such items will be points of dialogue for the RCN in conjunction with other organizations. Other areas of intellectual property and national security are less tractable for the science community. Policy aspects of the free and open access issue has been take up by GEO at the ministerial level. The RCN contribution will be to address issues within the context of globalizing ocean observations and input to discussions that take place through GEO, IOC, WMO, etc. The RCN will thus encourage the formation of a team to address these areas with a focus on observatories and coastal observations.

The key question is how we can maximize open access to data (in volume as well as timeliness) by a wide variety of users and with the most advanced and appropriate technologies, while respecting intellectual property rights and data policies.

So the main topics to be discussed by the group could be:

  • open exchange of data and intellectual property
  • open exchange and institutional/national/regional/international data policies
  • open exchange and science publishing
  • open exchange and real-time data access
  • open exchange and key technologies

The above main topics will need to be further detailed and expanded by the group.

Members of the Group

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Terms of reference

New technologies and approaches are emerging to vastly improve ocean observations. Cabled observatories are an example of a paradigm shift, providing a relative abundance of power and bandwidth for observations covering scales from cm to km and times from seconds to decades. Sensors traditionally only available in laboratories can now be adapted for in-situ observations. The potential for interdisciplinary collaboration is significant. To leverage this, an ocean observation Research Coordination Network (RCN:OceanObsNetwork) is proposed.

Observations collected need to be managed and made available to the research community. A balance needs to be found between the interests of the individual or group who was responsible for the collection of the data (and who wishes to use these observations for intellectual work that will contribute to science as well as to his/her career) and those of the global ocean observation and science community.

The working group dealing with "Facilitating Open Exchange of Data and Information" will need to address the above mentioned balance by considering the following elements (*):

  1. Data and Information formats and standards
  2. Data access models (incl IPR, business models for open data, data policies,...)
  3. Data publishing, data citation

 An important element in the work of the groups will be not to re-invent the wheel but rather identify and possibly compare ongoing initiatiatives that deal with the selected issues.These will be researched by members of the group and then documented in this web site. Group members can be given permissions to submit content to the web site.

For each of the three elements a task team was created. Each task team was asked to start their work with a literature search on existing practices, then to identify similarities and differences. In order to facilitate their work an online work space was created for each task team. (accessible through http://iode.grouphub.com). These sites are accessible only by members of the task teams. 

 

  1. Data and Information formats and standards
  2. Data access models (incl IPR, business models for open data, data policies,...)
  3. Data publishing, data citation

 

 

For each of the three elements a task team was created (click on link above to fnd out more). Each task team was asked to start their work with a literature search on existing practices, then to identify similarities and differences. In order to facilitate their work an online work space was created for each task team. (accessible through http://iode.grouphub.com). These sites are accessible only by members of the task teams. 

 


 

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(*) note: the above shortlist of topics was created based upon a more extensive list discussed at the first telephone conferences:

 

  • Data availability: what are the availability timescales for different types of ocean observations and different levels of quality
  • Should metadata be compulsory and where should the metadata be reposited? Is there are global metadata base?
  • How do we deal with intellectual property rights (of the individual scientist, organization,...)?
  • What are the minimum usage statistics that should be collected? (should registration be compulsory – should the planned use of the data be a condition to access? – how and who to police this?)
  • Should there be a difference in access to coastal (EEZ) vs open ocean data? How can we convince governments?
  • What global data policies exist, how compatible are they and are they applied?
  • What regional or national policies exist, are they compatible with global policies and are they applied?
  • Are those collecting and managing ocean observations aware of data policies?
  • Do we have globally accepted standards and best practices for the major observations and their quality management? Do we have a quality management framework/system for these observations (which includes minimum requirements for those who collect and manage the data)
  • A number of data citation systems are coming up. How many should or can there be? (How) will data citation assist scientists in their career?

 

Events

Events organized by this group can be found in the Events calendar.