The Beijing Declaration on Research Data

Date: Nov 8, 2019

Grand challenges related?to the environment, human health, and sustainability confront science and?society. Understanding and?mitigating these challenges in a rapidly changing?environment require data[1]?to be FAIR?(Findable, Accessible, Interoperable,?and Reusable) and as open as possible on?a global basis. Scientific discovery must not be impeded unnecessarily by?fragmented and closed systems, and the stewardship of research data should?avoid defaulting to the traditional, proprietary?approach of scholarly publishing.?Therefore, the adoption of new policies and principles, coordinated and?implemented?globally, is necessary for research data and the associated?infrastructures, tools, services, and practices. The time to act on the?basis?of solid policies for research data is now.
The Beijing Declaration?is intended as a timely statement of core principles to encourage global?cooperation, especially for?public research data. It builds on and acknowledges?the many national and international efforts that have been undertaken in?the?policy and technical spheres on a worldwide basis. ?These major?contributions are listed in the Appendix.?
?Several emergent global?trends justify and precipitate this declaration of principles:
  • Massive global challenges require multilateral?and cross-disciplinary cooperation and the broad reuse of data to?improve?coherence concerning recent UN landmark agreements, such as the Paris Climate?Agreement, the Sendai?Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sustainable?Development Goals (SDGs), the Convention on Biological?Diversity, the Plant?Treaty, the World Humanitarian Summit, and others. The comprehensive agendas?for action?provided by these agreements requires access to and reuse of all?kinds of data.
  • Research and problem-solving, especially?addressing the SDG challenges, are increasingly complex and driven by?‘big?data’, resulting in the need to combine and reuse very diverse data resources?across multiple fields. This poses an?enormous challenge in the?interoperability of data and responsible stewardship, with full respect for?privacy.
  • Rapid advances in the technologies that generate?and analyze data pose major challenges concerning data volume,?harmonization,?management, sharing, and reuse. At the same time, emerging technologies?(including machine?learning) offer new opportunities that require access to?reusable data available in distributed, yet interoperable,?international data?resources.
  • Changing norms and ethics encourage high-quality?research through greater transparency, promote the reuse of data,?and improve?trustworthiness through the production of verifiable and reproducible research?results. Increasing the?openness of research data is efficient, improving the?public return on investment, and generating positive?externalities.
  • Open Science initiatives are emerging globally,?including in less economically developed countries. There?consequently are?opportunities for these countries to take advantage of technological?developments to develop a?greater share in scientific production. Without?determined action, there is also a risk that the divide in scientific?production will widen.
In September 2019, CODATA?and its Data Policy Committee convened?in Beijing?to?discuss current data policy issues and?developed a set of data policies adapted?to the new Open Science paradigm. The Declaration proposed below is the result?of?that meeting and is now put forward for public review.
The Beijing Declaration on Research Data:
[1]?In the attached document we deliberately use?the word data very broadly, to comprise data (stricto sensu) and the ecosystem?of?digital things that relate to data, including metadata, software and?algorithms, as well as physical samples and analogue?artefacts (and the digital?representations and metadata relating to these things).