The European Commission is developing an Open Data Pilot, which aims to stimulate the data-sharing culture among researchers and the re-use of information. Paul Ayris, President of LIBER, attended a key meeting about the pilot in Brussels. In this statement, he explains the relevance of this Open Data Pilot for research libraries.
I recently attended the EC Consultation on Open Data in Brussels, as a representative of both LIBER and LERU (League of European Research Universities). LIBER has over 400 members across Europe and LERU is a consortium of 21 research-intensive universities, all of whom stand to gain from an Open Data Pilot.
For LIBER, the creation of an Open Data Pilot ties into our belief that research libraries need to re-invent themselves in order to embrace a new role in the creation, sharing and re-use of research data.
Libraries can support researchers in the construction of data management plans, and in advising on the thesauri and ontologies needed to describe data. They will advocate the benefits of the sharing and re-use of data in an era of data-driven science. They can also curate research data outputs, certainly for Small Science (typically in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences).
LIBER fully supports a data pilot in the Horizon 2020 programme. We believe that a whole range of issues should be tested by the pilot, including:
- Technical Infrastructure;
- Skills gap among researchers/academic support staff to manage data;
- Advocacy of the benefits of sharing data leading to culture change.
For LERU, the pilot complements their current work to compile a Roadmap for LERU Rectors on the impact of Open Data on LERU Universities and their researchers. This Roadmap is set to be signed off in November 2013, and will cover a number of points.
- Costs and how they can be met;
- Infrastructures and the potential for shared infrastructure amongst European universities;
- Human Resource issues such as how incentives can be built into researchers’ career structures to reward them for sharing data.
- Advocacy and culture change: what is needed to open up to researchers the benefits of sharing their data? There are boundaries. Not all data can be immediately open. There are funding, security and privacy issues to consider. Nevertheless, LERU believes that the default position for research data should be open, not closed.
For all of these reasons, LIBER and LERU fully support the Commission’s research data pilot. It is important for Europe and European competitiveness that this pilot proceeds.
This powerpoint gives more information about LIBER and LERU’s work in this area.