Advancing the Frontiers of Data in Research at SciDataCon2016

The unprecedented explosion in the capacity to acquire, store and manipulate data and information and to communicate them globally, is a world historical event involving a revolution in knowledge creation. This transformation has led to more data intensive research and to theorising around ‘Big Data’. The data revolution offers new opportunities to identify patterns and processes in phenomena that have been previously beyond our capacity to resolve.  It presents a simultaneous challenge to transform fundamental processes by which scientific evidence—the data on which new discoveries are based—is managed and scrutinised.  New modes of collaboration and coordinated action are required to sustain observational and monitoring capacities and maximize scientific and societal benefit.

SciDataCon explicitly seeks to advance the frontiers of data in all areas of research. The conference is motivated by the conviction that the most significant contemporary research challenges—and in particular those reaching across traditional disciplines—cannot be properly addressed without paying attention to issues relating to data.

SciDataCon 2016 will take place on 11-13 September 2016 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colorado, USA.  It is part of International Data Week, 11-16 September 2016, convened by CODATA, the ICSU World Data System and the Research Data Alliance.

eResearch Services at Griffith University in collaboration with TERN have a workshop session approved at this years SciDataCon titled “The Data requirements and availability for decision makers”.  Abstracts close on 16th May. Submissions are to be made at: More information on session below.


Session Title

The Data requirements and availability for decision makers

Session Abstract

There is a strong need for an evidence-based scientific information to guide policy matters.  However, any information and data that have influenced any decision should be trusted, meet legislative and policy requirements, relevant to matters under consideration and readily accessible for scientists, public as well as policy makers in an easily consumable form. While several initiatives have started to make scientific data publically accessible, it is often fragmented along discipline lines, hard to find, not well documented for public, policy and decision makers’ consumption.  Likewise, access to specific skills and consultancy services that can use contemporary data and tools is also limited.

This session will focus on environmental data to explore how to make this data published by the scientific community useful for planners and decision makers and to support new methods of interpretation and incorporation into working practices. Scientific data is growing at an enormous rate due to the application of new technologies, techniques and methods.  The data deluge can play a critical role in providing more evidence-based information to planners and decision makers.

Examples of how this data can be used for decision-making include:

  • measuring the state of the environment;
  • creating long-term strategic plans for ecological corridors and nature refuge planning;
  • developing environmental offset mechanisms and undertaking revegetation;
  • conservation and pest management programs;
  • developing and retaining land areas with for their natural ecosystem services.

This session will address some of the challenges of the use of scientific data and analysis tools to influence and enable policy and planning decisions. Speakers will be drawn from both research institutions and organisations creating, managing and using scientific, environmental data for policy and planning purposes.  The session will invite papers and speakers with use cases to explore issues such as:

  • Models and drivers for science and policy interaction;
  • developing a better understanding of policy maker’s needs;
  • awareness and discoverability of available data and analysis tools that can be used to support decision-making and planning processes;
  • contemporary methods and frameworks that allow new analysis to be incorporated in corporate workflows and decision-making capacity;
  • developing skills and training programs to lift capability of use of data and analytics into decision making and planning processes;
  • research and industry partnerships involving data analytics and the process of incorporating scientific data into policy or planning processes and explaining the dynamics of the partnerships between organisations involved;
  • better coordination of research and policy lifecycle;
  • a multi-stakeholder approach in knowledge sharing;
  • challenges in translating research knowledge into policy making.

The session will also have a panel discussion to discuss critical success factors and effective ways of:

  • communicating decisions based on scientific data and the complex processes involved and;
  • making scientific information available so that non-scientists and decision makers can access and understand them.

The session will have presentations of 15 minutes each for accepted abstract followed by a panel discussion. Participants will have an opportunity to share experiences and learn from good practice examples from across the globe.


Siddeswara Guru
Data Integration Synthesis Coordinator
Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network
University of Queensland, Australia

Malcolm Wolski
Director, eResearch Services
Griffith University, Australia

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