Originally Published on MethodSpace September 2016
This week will see data scientists from private industry, government and academe gather in Colorado to jointly discuss the ‘data revolution’ for an event known as International Data Week. Themed “From Big Data to Open Data: Mobilizing the Data Revolution,” the event brings together three data-centered umbrella organizations as hosts working across three key annual events brought together under one roof: the Sheraton Downtown Hotel in Denver.
As we describe the breadth of International Data Week below, we’ll also offer some suggested open readings from SAGE’s Big Data & Society and Social Media + Society journals that amplify the theme of each event’s focus both for attendees and for those unable to attend but still vitally interested in these subjects.
The three hosts for the week are the International Council for Science’s Committee on Data for Science and Technology, the Research Data Alliance, and the International Council for Science’s interdisciplinary World Data System.
The International Council for Science’s Committee on Data for Science and Technology, known as CODATA, was established in 1966 with members drawn from national academies, science councils, international scientific unions and other organizations that care about data. It focuses on creating a culture and a framework of standards, agreements and protocols that enable data to be shared and reused.
While its roots date to 1957, the International Council for Science’s interdisciplinary World Data System, or WDS, was established in 2008 with members drawn from data repositories, data service providers, and their partners. It focuses on identifying, creating, and sustaining institutions that provide stewardship, long-term preservation, and access to data.
The Research Data Alliance, or RDA, was established in 2013 by several funding agencies in Europe, the United States, and Australia and is composed of private and non-profit individuals and organizations interested in the detailed implementation of policies, practices, and technologies that lower barriers to data exchange.
There are also three key – and also complementary – events staged throughout the week that comprise IDW:
SciDataCon, which runs from Sunday through Wednesday, aims to advance the frontiers of data in all areas of research by addressing a range of fundamental and urgent issues around the ‘data revolution’ and how the revolution has transformed research.
It includes more than 50 breakout sessions on themes that mostly cross discipline boundaries, such as Data Curation, Ethics, Publishing Data, Data Reuse and Data Quality and the Long Tail. Keynote speakers will include Elaine M. Faustman, director of Institute for Risk Analysis and Risk Communication at the University of Washington; Simon J.D. Cox, a researcher in environmental informatics for Australia’s, CSIRO; and Christine L. Borgman, chair of information studies at UCLA.
- “Inflated granularity: Spatial ‘Big Data’ and geodemographics “ | By Craig M. Dalton and Jim Thatcher in Big Data & Society
- “Datatrust: Or, the political quest for numerical evidence and the epistemologies of Big Data” | By Gernot Rieder and Judith Simon in Big Data & Society
- “The Platformization of the Web: Making Web Data Platform Ready” |By Anne Helmond in Social Media + Society
The International Data Forum: Data For The Public Good – Responsibilities, Opportunities And Dangers In A Data-Aware Society
This event, which takes place on Wednesday, is seen as the centerpiece of the week, bringing together international researchers, industrialists, policy makers and educators to discuss the major opportunities and challenges of the data revolution. Attendees will discuss 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 in sessions such as “Open Data as a Public Good and the Responsibilities of Scientists” and “Data for the Public Good – A Next-generation Vision”
- “Known or knowing publics? Social media data mining and the question of public agency” | By Helen Kennedy and Giles Mossin in Big Data & Society
- “Forensic devices for activism: Metadata tracking and public proof” | By Lonneke van der Velden in Big Data & Society
- “The Internet and Generalized Functions of the Public Sphere: Transformative Potentials From a Comparative Perspective” | By Adrian Rauchfleisch and Marko Kovic in Social Media + Society
The plenary on Thursday through Saturday offers attendees a unique opportunity to network and collaborate across various disciplines, and make concrete progress in technical and social areas on topics related to research data sharing and exchange. Besides talks by leading members of the community, such as Kay Raseroka of the University of Botswana and Rachel Bruce, the deputy chief innovation officer for JISC, important features of the plenary include the highlighting of organizations who have adopted RDA’s outputs, and ‘Birds of a Feather’ discussions which explore new potential working or interest group topics.
- “When open data is a Trojan Horse: The weaponization of transparency in science and governance” | By Karen EC Levy and David Merritt Johns in Big Data & Society
- “Datafication and empowerment: How the open data movement re-articulates notions of democracy, participation, and journalism” | By Stefan Baack in Big Data & Society
Hashtags for the week and its events are #idw2016, #RDAPlenary and #SciDataCon