As you may have seen, open data and transparency is set to be a major topic of discussion at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland next week.
We were pleased to see a joint statement from the G8 science ministers released yesterday – expressing a strong commitment to open data in science. The third section of the statement says:
Open Scientific Research Data
Open enquiry is at the heart of scientific endeavour, and rapid technological change has profound implications for the way that science is both conducted and its results communicated. It can provide society with the necessary information to solve global challenges. We are committed to openness in scientific research data to speed up the progress of scientific discovery, create innovation, ensure that the results of scientific research are as widely available as practical, enable transparency in science and engage the public in the scientific process. We have decided to support the set of principles for open scientific research data outlined below as a basis for further discussions.
i. To the greatest extent and with the fewest constraints possible publicly funded scientific research data should be open, while at the same time respecting concerns in relation to privacy, safety, security and commercial interests, whilst acknowledging the legitimate concerns of private partners.
ii. Open scientific research data should be easily discoverable, accessible, assessable, intelligible, useable, and wherever possible interoperable to specific quality standards.
iii. To maximise the value that can be realised from data, the mechanisms for delivering open scientific research data should be efficient and cost effective, and consistent with the potential benefits.
iv. To ensure successful adoption by scientific communities, open scientific research data principles will need to be underpinned by an appropriate policy environment, including recognition of researchers fulfilling these principles, and appropriate digital infrastructure.
We decide to build on the existing work to coordinate and enable international data collaboration.
It is encouraging to see such high level support for open access to scientific research and for open data in science. We hope that in the coming months this high level support translates into policies that mandate compliance with principles such as the Budapest Open Access Initiative 10 Year Recommendations and our own Panton Principles for Open Data in Science.
If you’d like to join discussion about open data in science you can sign up to our open-science mailing list:
Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at jonathangray.org and he tweets at @jwyg.
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