Policy for Science

First Science International Meeting: Big Data/Open Data


The first Science International meeting, jointly organized by 4 major global science organizations *, will take place from 7-9 December in Pretoria, South Africa with experts discussing the topic of "Big Data/Open Data". The meeting will be hosted by South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology and held in parallel with the first 'Science Forum: South Africa' and the Ministerial Forum of the G77 + China.

At the meeting, IAP, ICSU, ISSC and TWAS will agree an international science ‘accord’ on Big Data/Open Data. The accord will be prepared by an expert working group jointly appointed by the partner organizations and will be presented in Pretoria at a meeting of the G77 + China science ministers.

The meeting will also recommend a global plan for data science capacity development, with an initial focus on Africa.

‘Big data’ has emerged as a major opportunity for scientific discovery, while ‘open data’ will enhance the efficiency, productivity and creativity of the public research enterprise and counteract tendencies towards the privatisation of knowledge. In addition, concurrent open publication of the data underpinning scientific papers can provide the basis of scientific ’self correction’. For organisations, individuals and society to maximise the benefits of big data, however, will depend on the extent to which there is open access to publicly-funded scientific data.

A working group has been established to develop the accord:

Geoffrey Boulton (ICSU)

Simon Hodson (ICSU)

Sally Wyatt (ISSC)

Dominique Babini (ISSC)

Maria Musoke (IAP)

Jianhui Li (IAP)
Paul Uhlir (IAP)

Tshilidzi Marwala (TWAS)


 * International Council for Science (ICSU), InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), International Social Science Council (ISSC).

Logo ICSULogo PartnershipLogo TWASLogo ISSC

For more information see Science International.