International science community to establish global virtual library for scientific data

October 23, 2008

Maputo, Mozambique--the existing networks for collecting, storing and distributing data in many areas of science are inadequate and not designed to enable the inter-disciplinary research that is necessary to meet major global challenges. These networks must be transformed into a new inter-operable data system and extended around the world and across all areas of science. The General Assembly of the International Council for Science (ICSU) agreed today to take the first strategic steps to establish such a system.

More scientific data and information is now available than at any other time in history and the volume is increasing daily, particularly via the World Wide Web. Yet the quality, long-term stewardship and availability of this data is largely uncertain and a large amount of valuable scientific data remains inaccessible. Over 50 years ago, ICSU established networks of data centres and services to provide full and open access to scientific data and products for the global community. But the world has changed enormously in 50 years, most notably with advances in technology, and it is time for the existing structures to be integrated into a new expanded system--a World Data System.

The expert report recommending the new system and presented to the ICSU General Assembly asserts: 'there is a need for global federations of professional state of the art data management institutions, working together and exchanging practices. Such federations can provide quality assurance and promote data publishing, providing the backbone for a global virtual library for scientific data'. The report concludes that ICSU itself can play a leading role by re-structuring its own data bodies.

Ray Harris, chair of the expert Committee that produced the report said, 'Data is the lifeblood of science and there are many exciting developments, which mean that access to scientific data both for science and for policy making should be much easier. However, in many areas there is little order and the origin and reliability of what one finds on the web can be almost impossible to determine'.

'A more strategic and systematic international approach, together with significant financial investment at the national level, is urgently required if we are to realise the full benefit of science for society,' Harris continued.

Dave Carlson, the Director of the programme office for the International Polar Year (IPY)--a major, ICSU-sponsored, interdisciplinary research programme that is using and generating enormous amounts of data--added: 'There are more than 200 IPY research projects, funded to the tune of 1.5 billion Euros, and its major legacy should be the data that will inform polar research for years to come. But we still don't know how most of this data will be handled'.

'The new ICSU World Data System should help provide at least part of the answer. A little bit of extra resource for data management is urgently needed to ensure maximum return on what has been a huge public investment in IPY.'
-end-
ICSU will be implementing the recommendations in the report over the next three years. The report and more information on the General Assembly are available at: www.icsu.org/3_mediacentre/GA_29.html



Media enquiries


Jacinta Legg, Science Communications Officer, ICSU. jacinta.legg@icsu.org, Tel: +33 1 45255777.

For journalists at the General Assembly, contact: Gisbert Glaser, Tel: +33 6 32310027.

About ICSU

Founded in 1931, ICSU is a non-governmental organization with a global membership of national scientific bodies (114 Members, representing 134 countries) and International Scientific Unions (29 Members). The Council is frequently called upon to speak on behalf of the global scientific community and to act as an advisor in matters ranging from the environment to conduct in science. ICSU's activities focus on three areas: planning and coordinating research; science for policy; and strengthening the Universality of Science.

International Council for Science

Related Data Articles from Brightsurf:

Keep the data coming
A continuous data supply ensures data-intensive simulations can run at maximum speed.

Astronomers are bulging with data
For the first time, over 250 million stars in our galaxy's bulge have been surveyed in near-ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared light, opening the door for astronomers to reexamine key questions about the Milky Way's formation and history.

Novel method for measuring spatial dependencies turns less data into more data
Researcher makes 'little data' act big through, the application of mathematical techniques normally used for time-series, to spatial processes.

Ups and downs in COVID-19 data may be caused by data reporting practices
As data accumulates on COVID-19 cases and deaths, researchers have observed patterns of peaks and valleys that repeat on a near-weekly basis.

Data centers use less energy than you think
Using the most detailed model to date of global data center energy use, researchers found that massive efficiency gains by data centers have kept energy use roughly flat over the past decade.

Storing data in music
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a technique for embedding data in music and transmitting it to a smartphone.

Life data economics: calling for new models to assess the value of human data
After the collapse of the blockchain bubble a number of research organisations are developing platforms to enable individual ownership of life data and establish the data valuation and pricing models.

Geoscience data group urges all scientific disciplines to make data open and accessible
Institutions, science funders, data repositories, publishers, researchers and scientific societies from all scientific disciplines must work together to ensure all scientific data are easy to find, access and use, according to a new commentary in Nature by members of the Enabling FAIR Data Steering Committee.

Democratizing data science
MIT researchers are hoping to advance the democratization of data science with a new tool for nonstatisticians that automatically generates models for analyzing raw data.

Getting the most out of atmospheric data analysis
An international team including researchers from Kanazawa University used a new approach to analyze an atmospheric data set spanning 18 years for the investigation of new-particle formation.

Read More: Data News and Data Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.