Ninety participants from around the world came together on 27 October in Santiago, Chile for the fourth Research Data Workshop of the LEARN project, titled “Implementation of policies and strategies in Latin America and the Caribbean”.
The workshop was organised by LEARN project partner UN ECLAC, at its headquarters in Santiago. The international audience — which included people not only from Chile but also from other countries in the region, North America and Europe — discussed a range of topics related to Research Data Management, including the value of data, and the policies and strategies which need to be put in place to manage Research Data effectively.
The first speaker of the conference was Dr Martin Hilbert of the University of California. His talk – “Data for Development – the value of data for research and society” – showed how data has become the “digital footprint” of societies and explored the use of data as instruments for science and social development, delving into the challenges, risks, benefits and opportunities they bring.
This was followed by a talk from Dr Paul Ayris of University College London, which outlined the role of research organisations in developing policies that will make possible the management of increasing amounts of data. Dr Ayris also presented the preliminary results of the LEARN RDM Survey “Ready for managing data?”, inviting the audience to participate and to explore new initiatives to foster the development of Open Science in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The morning finished with a panel discussion focusing on best practices and challenges for Research Data Management across Latin America and the Caribbean. Panellists discussed the current state of RDM in Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Argentina and Chile, presenting recent legislation for open scientific information and institutional efforts to promote the management of research data. The discussion also explored the need to overcome social and cultural barriers for openness, and strategies to enable the effective use of data by governments and policy makers.
Dr. Claudio Gutiérrez of the University of Chile opened the afternoon session with a conference in which he presented several data-related initiatives that co-exist today, exploring some of the definitions and principles implied in open data within and beyond the world of science. Dr Gutierrez concluded by reflecting on current challenges involved in managing large amounts of data, and at the same time making them meaningful and useful.
Another panel discussion followed, this time focusing on the implantation of policies and strategies for Research Data Management in Latin America and the Caribbean. Panellists from Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and the regional network LA Referencia shared the experiences and expectations of their organizations regarding the management and openness of research data. Presentations were followed by a vivid discussion among panellists and with the audience, in which the main topic was the emergence of the “data scientist” as a new professional, the new role of libraries and librarians and the necessary collaboration and dialogue between RDM stakeholders.
Open Data In A Big World
The session closed with the presentation of the international accord Open Data in a Big Data World — a campaign which cites open data as critical for the future of research in fields ranging from agriculture and climate to neuroscience and human migration. During his talk, Fernando López (UMET, Argentina), presented the principles of open data -which relate to the responsibilities of stakeholders, the boundaries of openness and enabling practices- and their impact in scientific practice.
The host institution, ECLAC, thanks all Workshop participants for their great contribution to a very successful first regional event on RDM. The programme, presentations and photos of the Workshop will be made available here in the next days.