A Step Forward for Data Access: International Funding Managers agree on an Open Data Policy

E-infrastructures Secretariat - Source: [Author Unknown]. E-infrastructures Secretariat. Digital Image. Erica Key LinkedIn Page, 02 Nov 2015

At the 2015 plenary meeting, the Belmont Forum agreed on and adopted an open data policy and principles.  The principles were drafted as part of a collaborative scoping effort initiated by the Belmont Forum and involving over 120 domain scientists, computer and information scientists, legal scholars, social scientists, and other experts from more than fourteen countries.  The new policy signals a commitment to increasing access to scientific data by funders of global environmental change research.

The Belmont Forum adopts this data policy and the following principles to widen access to data and promote its long-term preservation in global change research; help improve data management and exploitation; coordinate and integrate disparate organizational and technical elements; fill critical global e-infrastructure gaps; share best practices; and foster new data literacy.

The Belmont Forum recognizes that significant advances in open access to data have been achieved and implementation of this policy and these principles requires support by a highly skilled workforce. The Belmont Forum recommends a broad-based training and education curriculum as an integral part of research programs and encourages researchers to be aware of, and plan for, the costs of data intensive research. The Belmont Forum’s ambition is that this policy and these principles will take positive steps toward establishing a global, interoperable e-infrastructure based on cost-effective solutions that can help enable actionable and societally beneficial science.

Data should be:

  • Discoverable through catalogues and search engines
  • Accessible as open data by default, and made available with minimum time delay
  • Understandable in a way that allows researchers—including those outside the discipline of origin—to use them
  • Manageable and protected from loss for future use in sustainable, trustworthy repositories

The Belmont Forum and its members will support and promote this data policy and principles with the intent of making these data principles enforceable over time.

The data policy was one of several recommendations put forward in a Community Strategy and Implementation Plan, which was endorsed by the Forum.  A new e-infrastructures Coordination Office will be working with the Belmont Forum Secretariat as well as other international organizations such as the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Research Data Alliance (RDA) to implement the Data Policy and Principles in future collaborative research activities.

For more information about the Belmont Forum E-infrastructure strategy and data management activities, please click here. 

Note: This post originally appeared on appeared on Belmont Forum Secretariat Executive Director Erica Key’s Linkedin blog.