Data Management Challenges: Not a One Size Fits All Solution

We recap eResearch NZ in 2020.
A digital artwork of a handshake with a map of Australia and New Zealand

The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) actively seeks ways to keep abreast of current challenges and opportunities that affect the research landscape, and build professional connections that benefit the Australian research community. This is why conferences like eResearch NZ are essential to ensure the ARDC continues to provide Australian researchers competitive advantage through data.

Rosie Hicks, CEO of the ARDC opened the conference with her keynote presentation “Data…so what’s the problem?” at this year’s conference, held 12–14th February in Dunedin, NZ. The conference theme ‘United in Data’ highlights the challenges and solutions associated with data management. It brought together a unique community of eResearch organisations such as New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) and Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ) along with NZ Government and Local Universities to explore the ways that data science and associated technologies can be used to support and advance research outcomes in NZ and internationally.

Ms Alexis Tindall, ARDC’s Senior Research Data Specialist led a Birds of a Feather session on what infrastructure would help researchers from the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and participated in a session on skills and training needs.

“There was a strong thread through many presentations around the value of collaboration, and the benefits of information and skill sharing.

“Collaboration is key to any success; from collaborating on models that simulate the impact of climate change, through to understanding that all organisations are different pieces in the skill-building puzzle for researchers,” Ms Tindall said.

Other important highlights during the three-day conference included:

  • discussions around the different approaches necessary for different research domains — it’s not a one size fits all approach to data management. The development of different portals for different communities is a way to tackle this. DataONE is a great example of what’s available for the Earth and environmental sciences. It’s a community driven portal that provides access to data across multiple member repositories, supporting enhanced search and discovery of Earth and environmental data

  • bridging the gap between researchers and data science resources. Initiatives such as Hackweeks and informal pathways are successful in connecting data scientists and researchers.

  • a showcase of projects around working with researchers over a sustained period to build digital skills through incubator type programs known as ‘data science accelerators.’

Where to ext?

There are two conferences, co-located in Melbourne, where more data challenges will be solved; the Collaborative Conference on Computational and Data Intensive Science (C3DIS) — and the Research Data Alliance (RDA) Plenary 15. The plenary is hosted by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, with the support of the ARDC. You can still register for the RDA Plenary 15 Data for Real-World Impact in Melbourne, Australia 18–20 March 2020.


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