Data has become a key asset for the economy and our societies, as “open access to research data can help speed the pace of discovery and deliver more value for funded research by enabling reuse and reducing duplication.”
Through its Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Union (EU) intends to build a European data economy, as data is a key enabler to tackle societal challenges and benefit the economy. However, data flow, usage and sharing creates many challenges and potential pitfalls.
To tackle these kinds of challenges, COST organised the COST Connect – Sharing is Daring? event on the 13 and 14 of March 2019, in Brussels, Belgium. This event brought together representatives of 32 COST Actions (see full list below), researchers and stakeholders active in the field of open data, to share best-practices, raise awareness and to exchange and promote the principles of data management.
Above: Attendees of COST Connect – Sharing is Daring?
During the event, several researchers from across Europe outlined the current situation they face managing data flow, storage, usage, and privacy in their work. Participants were then invited into various workshops to discuss the biggest issues they are confronted with and look for solutions by seeding ideas and obtaining group input from others.
Above: Participants during the workshop.
Due to the interdisciplinary background of the participants, they came from different starting positions, but derived to the same conclusion, that data should be shared, but also protected. One of the researchers highlighted the importance of sharing data: “sharing data is good for science, and good for you”. A view that is also reflected in the EU’s policy guidance on private sector data sharing: if data is shared, it can support and lead to the creation of new research, innovations, products or services. “This way, the value resulting from the data can be exploited to the maximum.”
COST Connect events are highly interactive workshops that provide open spaces for attendees to grow their ideas and build stronger research networks. The thematic nature of the events encourages networking and dialogue between participants thereby reducing duplication of activities.
 Grace Baynes, “Practical challenges for researchers in data sharing”, Springer Nature, 21/03/2018.
Read more about the COST Actions involved:
- A network for Gravitational Waves, Geophysics and Machine Learning
- International Network to Encourage the Use of Monitoring and Forecasting Dust Products
- Knowledge Conversion for Enhancing Management of European Riparian Ecosystems and Services
- Harmonization of UAS techniques for agricultural and natural ecosystems monitoring
- LEukaemia GENe Discovery by data sharing, mining and collaboration
- Performance and Reliability of Photovoltaic Systems: Evaluations of Large-Scale Monitoring Data
- European Raptor Biomonitoring Facility
- MULTI-modal Imaging of FOREnsic SciEnce Evidence – tools for Forensic Science
- Vector Boson Scattering Coordination and Action Network
- International Ethnic and Immigrant Minorities’ Survey Data Network
- Archaeological practices and knowledge work in the digital environment
- Mitochondrial mapping: Evolution – Age – Gender – Lifestyle – Environment
- Gene Regulation Ensemble Effort for the Knowledge Commons
- European Network for cost containment and improved quality of health care
- European Cooperation for Statistics of Network Data Science (COSTNET)
- Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes – European network (FAANG-Europe))
- Mathematical and Computer Science Methods for Food Science and Industry (FoodMC)
- Open Multiscale Systems Medicine (OpenMultiMed) – CA15120
- Multi-target paradigm for innovative ligand identification in the drug discovery process (MuTaLig)
- Chemistry of Smart Energy Carriers and Technologies (SMARTCATS)
- Molecules in motion (MOLIM) – CM1405
- European Network for Collaboration on Kidney Exchange Programmes
- High-Performance Modelling and Simulation for Big Data Applications (cHiPSet)
- Computationally-intensive methods for the robust analysis of non-standard data (CRoNoS)
- Simulation and pharmaceutical technologies for advanced patient-tailored inhaled medicines (SimInhale)
- Quality specifications for roadway bridges, standardization at a European level (BridgeSpec)
- Scientific and technical innovations for safer Powered Two Wheelers (PTW)
- Big Data Era in Sky and Earth Observation (BIG-SKY-EARTH)
- Development of a European network for preclinical testing of interventions in mouse models of age and age-related diseases (MouseAGE)
- Time Dependent Seismology (TIDES)
- Evaluation of Ocean Syntheses
- A European network for a harmonised monitoring of snow for the benefit of climate change scenarios, hydrology and numerical weather prediction