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Transition of e-I&DM Office: Announcement to Belmont Forum Community

Transition of e-I&DM Office
Announcement to Belmont Forum Community

The Belmont Forum e-Infrastructures and Data Management (e-I&DM) team announces the official completion  of the e-Infrastructures and Data Management Project on 30 August, 2019 and operationalization of the many e-I&DM outputs into the Belmont Forum CRA framework. 

The past few months, the team has been working with the Belmont Forum Secretariat to transfer resources and integrate training and evaluation opportunities into the Belmont Forum research and development process. We feel optimistic that the products and collaborations forged by this project will provide a sound basis for continued growth for the culture and mechanics of Open Data, and firm steps toward achievement of the Belmont Forum Open Data Policy and Principles, which advocate for rigorous, full-lifecycle research data management, data sharing, and open science, foreshadowing the FAIR Data Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) published by Force-11 in 2016.

A major step toward the goals of the Open Data Policy and Principles can be achieved by deploying cohesive, consistent data management requirements, training, and evaluation tools for all future Belmont Forum CRAs. Guided by the insightful outcomes of the e-I&DM Scoping project (2013-2015), materials and resources we have developed work together to provide a coherent path toward Open Data. Data management considerations introduced via the Data and Digital Outputs Management Plan Annex are made achievable through the training tools available in the online Data Management Toolkit and the BF Data Management Training Modules. The Data Management Plan Scorecard is designed to help research teams and project evaluators understand and quantify successful approaches to data management. 

e-Infrastructures and Data Management resources produced by the project include: 

As Belmont Forum members and research teams, you are encouraged to use, disseminate, and contribute to these materials. The continued culture of data sharing depends on you. 

Thanks to Our Collaborators

Belmont Forum contributors to the e-I&DM project included members from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), UK Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), France’s Agence Nationale de Recherche (ANR), Chinese Taipei’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). 

Together, this multinational, interdisciplinary team coordinated outreach and collaborations with international data and environmental research groups to identify best practices for data management and developed numerous resources for the Belmont Forum for capacity building, researcher and agency training, proposal development/evaluation, research data publication, and programmatic evaluation metrics. Key deliverables of these efforts included:

  • Data and Digital Outcomes Management Plan (DDOMP) template that member agencies may use as the basis for a Data Management Requirements Annex to CRA funding calls;
  • Data Management Plan (DMP) Scorecard for proposal reviewers, Belmont Forum Secretariat, or others to quantitatively evaluate completeness of DMPs submitted with proposals relative to DDOMP criteria; 
  • Data Accessibility Statement (DAS) template that specifies how to access data underlying the research being published, intended for research teams to use when publishing research funded by Belmont Forum in scholarly journals;
  • Data Management Skills Curricula Framework that outlines basic curricula/topics/skills to ensure a minimum level of knowledge required to conduct data-enabled science;
  • Online Data Management Toolkit as a resource for Belmont Forum and others to find basic training materials and resources;
  • Data Management Training Module for introductory training of Belmont funders, researcher-proposers, Group of Program Coordinators, Theme Program Officers, etc. on data management issues;
  • Transdisciplinary Research and Data Management slide presentation co-developed with START, FutureEarth, and International Science Council;
  • Evaluation Metrics White Paper outlining metrics to measure progress towards implementation of the Open Data Policy and Principles;
  • Data Policy Comparison Tool that enables users to compare up to 3 member agency data policies simultaneously when considering CRA funding requirements;
  • Presentations, posters, and papers by the project team given at international and domestic conferences to communicate to the research community and the broader public on efforts and outcomes of the e-I&DM project. 

Another key e-I&DM activity, led by ANR, MoST, and JST, was to develop and manage a separate Belmont Forum funding call to identify best practices and innovative science-driven e-infrastructures to enable international research data sharing. The outcome of this effort is the Science-driven e-Infrastructure Innovation for Enhancement of Transnational, Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Data User in Environmental Change (SEI CRA), announced in 2017 with funding support from five member agencies; three projects were awarded in 2019 under this call.

Project coordination, communication and collaboration, led by NSF’s awardee Arizona Geological Survey, involved international data and research groups, interest/working groups, and individuals affiliated with including, but not limited to: 

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Research Fellows 
  • American Geophysical Union 
  • Citizen Science Organization 
  • CODATA
  • DataONE
  • EarthCube
  • Earth Science Information Partners 
  • European Commission
  • European Geophysical Union
  • European Open Science Cloud 
  • European Space Agency 
  • FutureEarth 
  • GoFAIR 
  • Group on Earth Observations
  • International Science Council-World Data System
  • Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association 
  • Open Research Funders Group 
  • Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development 
  • Research Data Alliance 
  • Society of Scholarly Publishing 
  • START International
  • U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification 
  • U.N. Division of Sustainable Development Goals
  • U.N. Statistics Commission 
  • U.S. Global Change Research Program 
  • World Meteorological Organization 

Special thanks to Mark Asch, Wade Bishop, Sarah Callaghan, Makyba Charles-Ayinde, Matt Dobson, Susanna Ehlers, Johnny Ericson, Robert Gurney, Hannah Gunderman, Kate Hamer, Hilary Hanahoe, Simon Hodson, Nancy Hoebelheinrich, Erica Key, Katie Kinsley, Soichi Kubota, Ming-Hsu Li, Vicky Lucas, Mustapha Mokrane, Fiona Murphy, Barron Orr, Mark Parsons, Erin Robinson, Barbara Ryan, Bob Samors, Carrie Seltzer, Hugh Shanahan, Shelley Stall, Mao Takeuchi, Josh Tewksbury, Mark Thorley, Maria Uhle, Judit Ungvari, Jean-Pierre Vilotte, Lesley Wyborne, many others, and to the memory of Lee Allison. 

Next Steps

The key outcome and most important legacy of this extensive coordination effort is the widespread international recognition of the Belmont Forum as a leader in Open Data policy, practices and resources for international, transdisciplinary global change research.

Thank you for your ongoing support and contributions over the past three years. We sincerely hope that these resources help the Belmont Forum, its Plenary, and partners to collectively act to move the Belmont Forum community forward toward Open Data and its benefits together. For data management support, please inquire through the Belmont Forum website, www. belmontforum.org