“Over the last decades, data has risen to a prominent role in society, and in science and technology in particular, while some call it “the world’s most valuable resource.”
On 13 and 14 March 2019, COST will host the COST Connect on data sharing – Sharing is Daring? Data sharing in the context of networks in science and technology. Sharing data plays a crucial role in the establishment of a true Open Science culture, as envisaged in the “three O” strategy proposed by European Commissioner Carlos Moedas.
The event aims to bring together representatives of COST Actions and relevant stakeholders in order to create a platform. Within this platform, institutions and professionals engaged in data sharing and management can bring another point of view and a strategic approach to data sharing. The event has the aim to share best-practices, raise awareness about data sharing and to exchange and promote the principles of data management amongst researchers and society at large.
Background and objectives
This potential prominent role for data sharing leads to many new challenges concerning data management. First, there are the technical challenges: how can data be made available to a broader public of researchers and innovators, in such a way that they can easily be valorised? To this end, in 2016, the FAIR principles were drafted by a group of prominent researchers. The FAIR principles state that data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable2. How can these principles be brought into actual practice in an efficient way?
Beyond these technical challenges, there are questions of a more managerial nature. If data are shared and pooled on a structural basis, who is responsible for the day-to-day-management of the data pool? Can authenticity and quality of available data be assured? Who is actually the owner of these pooled data? If data have been made available for one particular purpose, can these data freely be used for other purposes? What if researchers or other stakeholders involved in data collection object against the reuse of data? Do individuals still have control over “their” data?
COST Action networks can involve hundreds of researchers and innovators, and these networks have shown innovative ways in how they collect, manage, use, visualize data. Given the often-interdisciplinary nature of COST Actions, data-sets range from widely different backgrounds with data related to domains as diverse as mobility, space, vegetation, migration, archaeology and genomics, among others.