The New Symposium on Open Data by the Board on Research Data and Information (BRDI)

opendataPublic symposium “The Value of Shared Access and ReUse of Publicly Funded Scientific Data” organized by the  Board on Research Data and Information (BRDI) will be held on December, 1 at Washington DC, and as it is the task of BRDI to disseminate and communicate the results of the Board’s activities, it will be webcast. One of the primary missions of BRDI is to address emerging issues in the management, policy, and use of research data and information at the national and international levels and to encourage and facilitate collaboration across disciplines, sectors, and nations. BRDI directly influences the decisions of National Research Council (NRC) which again directly improves US government decisions regarding knowledge, education, science, technology and medicine.

It sounds powerful, but what will they discuss?

On one side, we have the scientific community which generates increasingly vast amounts of publicly funded digital data and information, and disseminates much of it online, as goes the opening statement of the symposium, and on the other hand, surprisingly little is known about open access, as they recognize at the Board’s website;

Despite the huge public investments in generating and managing publicly funded data, and the even larger estimated downstream spillover effects of making it available, surprisingly little is known about the costs and benefits of open access and reuse on downstream research for our information society, and the knowledge economy. Many government agencies, academic organizations, and the research community generally are beginning to look into these issues in more depth.

The Information Society could be the reoccurring theme of the symposium, and probably how to turn collected data into – information. The concept of Data Science and Data Scientists should be tackled, and the problem that, as Stevan Harnad points out, “scientists and scholars are not primarily data-gatherers. They gather data in order to data-mine, analyze, interpret and build further findings, theories and applications on it.” He thus makes the difference between open data and open access research articles which benefits do not need to be questioned: “It has now been repeatedly demonstrated that refereed research articles that are made Open Access (OA) are used and cited significantly more in every scientific and scholarly field tested than those that are not made OA.” The problem of “many legitimate reasons for not disclosing scientific data publicly,” and furthermore, the fact that “many data sets are not sufficiently documented or organized, or of good enough quality, to make them useful to others,” will be questioned and is recognized at the Board’s website and scheduled to be discussed in the future meetings.

As reported at DuraSpace Blog, this symposium will examine some of the research, economic, and social benefits that can be derived from providing online access to publicly-funded scientific data, as well as how such benefits can be evaluated.

The event will include:

  • presentations on the scientific data sharing and reuse policies of the federal government
  • compelling examples of the value of free online access and unfettered reuse of data
  • methods of assessing the value and effects of shared access and reuse on research, the economy, and society

The speakers will include the Board Members as well as Heather Joseph from the SPARC, Rod Atkinson and Jan Johansson from the Congressional Research Service, Neil S. Buckholtz from the National Institute on Aging (NIH), and many others as listed on the event program. The symposium is open to the public, but advance registration is requested.

(Image obtained from: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/NRC/index.htm)

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One Response to The New Symposium on Open Data by the Board on Research Data and Information (BRDI)

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