Call for global accord on open data in ‘big data world’

08 December 2015 - 18:04 By TMG Digital

Four major international science organisations have called at a meeting in South Africa for global endorsement of an accord to help assure open access to volumes of "big data" that increasingly are the basis of research and policymaking. The four science organisations behind the "Open Data in a Big Data World" campaign are the International Council of Science (ICSU)‚ the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP)‚ the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS).Collectively‚ the organisations that attended the 2015 Science International meeting in Pretoria represent more than 250 national and regional science academies‚ scientific unions and other organisations worldwide‚ with individual members at the highest levels of scientific research‚ policy and education.“As the data revolution accelerates and the scientific potential of big data becomes clearer‚ it is timely that the major representative bodies of international science promote the importance of open data as means of maximising creativity‚ maintaining rigour and ensuring that knowledge is a global public good rather than just a private good‚" said Geoffrey Boulton‚ president of CODATA‚ ICSU’s Committee on Data‚ and leader of the working group that developed the accord.The digital revolution‚ he said‚ had created an unprecedented explosion in the data available for analysis by scientists‚ policymakers and others. Extremely large data sets‚ or ‘big data’‚ were the engine of this revolution; they helped researchers to recognise subtle but powerful patterns in areas ranging across the sciences‚ from security to genetic research and human behaviour.Such data wouldl be critical to analysing and achieving the UN's new Sustainable Development Goals. The "privatisation of knowledge"‚ however‚ could constrain this research.‚ Boulton added.

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