SciDataCon 2016: Advancing the Frontiers of Data in Research

SciDataCon 2016 seeks to advance the frontiers of data in research. This means addressing a range of fundamental and urgent issues around the ‘Data Revolution’ and the recent data-driven transformation of research and the responses to these issues in the conduct of research.

SciDataCon2016 took place on 11-13 September 2016 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colorado, USA.  It was part of International Data Week, 11-16 September 2016, convened by CODATA, the ICSU World Data System and the Research Data Alliance.  Please see below for further information.

Research and the Data Revolution

The unprecedented explosion in the capacity to acquire, store and manipulate data and information and to communicate them globally, is a world historical event involving a revolution in knowledge creation. This transformation has led to more data intensive research and to theorizing around ‘Big Data’. The data revolution offers new opportunities to identify patterns and processes in phenomena that have been previously beyond our capacity to resolve.  It presents a simultaneous challenge to transform fundamental processes by which scientific evidence—the data on which new discoveries are based—is managed and scrutinised.  New modes of collaboration and coordinated action are required to sustain observational and monitoring capacities and maximize scientific and societal benefit.

These developments in data-intensive science also challenge deep-seated scientific norms have created major new opportunities for research:

  • to identify patterns and processes in phenomena that have been beyond our capacity to resolve so far;
  • to integrate data reflecting a wide variety of coupled processes to obtain much deeper understanding of relationships than has been previously possible;
  • to improve forecasts of system behaviour by integrating data acquisition and modelling;
  • to make cognate datasets and data-integration tools readily available and useable by individual researchers from the rapidly growing number of open databases, while ensuring the quality and reliability of the available data;
  • to permit re-use, re-combination and re-purposing of data in ways that make data of perennial, cumulative value, rather than being lost from generation to generation;
  • to exploit the opportunities created by communicating, automated sensors - the ‘internet of things’ - in exploring complex phenomena and unravelling complexity.

The challenge of how to address and realize these frontier issues of ‘data science’ is the core subject of the conference.

Advancing the Frontiers of Data in Research

SciDataCon explicitly seeks to advance the frontiers of data in all areas of research. The conference is motivated by the conviction that the most significant contemporary research challenges—and in particular those reaching across traditional disciplines—cannot be properly addressed without paying attention to issues relating to data. These issues include policy frameworks, data quality and interoperability, long-term stewardship of data, and the research skills, technologies, and infrastructures required by increasingly data-intensive research. They also include frontier challenges for data science: for example, fundamental research questions relating to data integration, analysis of complex systems and models, epistemology and ethics in relation to Big Data, and so on.  Just as the relationship of this revolution to broader societal developments and to data-driven innovation is an important area of study, so the transformative effect of this revolution needs to be examined from the perspective of all fields of research. Taken together these issues form a multi-faceted challenge which cannot be tackled without expertise drawn from many disciplines and diverse roles in the research enterprise. Furthermore, the transformations around data in research are essentially international and the response must be genuinely global. SciDataCon is the international conference for research into these issues.

The conference will also:

  • advance discussions of the international policy agenda for Open Data and Open Science; and,
  • provide a forum that brings together the researchers who create and use data with the other professional communities involved in data science, those concerned with long-term data stewardship and with data and science policy.

International Data Week

On 11-17 September 2016, data professionals and researchers from all disciplines and from across the globe will convene in Denver, Colorado for International Data Week (IDW).  The theme of this landmark event is ‘From Big Data to Open Data: Mobilising the Data Revolution’.  As such, International Data Week will bring together data scientists, researchers, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, policy makers and data stewards to explore how best to exploit the data revolution to improve our knowledge and benefit society through data-driven research and innovation.

Organised by CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Council of Science (ICSU), the ICSU World Data System and the Research Data Alliance (RDA), IDW will take place at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.

IDW comprises three complementary events: 

1. SciDataCon 2016: Advancing the Frontiers of Data in Research

Convened by CODATA and WDS, SciDataCon 2016 is a scientific research conference that will advance the frontiers of data in research.  This means addressing a range of fundamental and urgent issues around the ‘Data Revolution’ and the recent data-driven transformation of research and the responses to these issues in the conduct of research.  SciDataCon features scientific papers from a wide range of perspectives.  The scope is explicitly broad and inclusive, addressing all aspects of the role of data in research.

2. An International Data Forum

This event will be the centerpiece of IDW, bringing together international researchers, industrialists, policy makers and educators to discuss the major opportunities and challenges of the data revolution, from ‘Big Data’ to ‘Open Data.’  Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from world-renown keynote speakers and collaborate with each other regarding the national and international dimensions of the data revolution, its implications for research and policy, and the linkages between research, industry and education that are required for the global community to fully exploit new opportunities.

3. The 8th Research Data Alliance Plenary Meeting

The 8th RDA Plenary Meeting offers attendees a unique opportunity to network and collaborate with colleagues and peers in various disciplines, and make concrete progress in technical and social areas on topics related to research data sharing and exchange.  Besides keynote talks by leading members of the community, important features of the RDA Plenary include the highlighting of organizations who have adopted RDA’s outputs, meetings of Working Groups and Interest Groups, and ‘Birds of a Feather’ discussions, which explore new potential working or interest group topics. The Meeting will also host a marketplace for small and medium enterprises involved with Big Data. The RDA Europe Early Career Scientist & Researcher Support Programme is also confirmed for this Meeting, which will offer up to 20 early career domain researchers and data practitioners the opportunity to attend the meetings, interact with working and interest groups and showcase their studies.

Look for more details in the upcoming weeks regarding registration, speaker line-up, sponsorship opportunities and calls for papers and posters at http://www.internationaldataweek.org/.