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The international impact of NCRIS

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Global collaboration to monitor oceans

Australia is playing a key role in global marine research through the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), based at the University of Tasmania and supported by NCRIS.

Argo floats

IMOS leads Australia’s contribution to the worldwide network of 3,900 sensored Argo floats, which together deliver a continuous stream of real-time data about the temperature  and salinity of the Earth’s oceans.

When the project began in the late 1990s, the level of international cooperation required to monitor thousands of floats was unprecedented in oceanography. Two decades later, over 30 countries contribute resources and Argo has become an exemplar of international collaboration with literally thousands of scientific papers referencing its data. Australia is the second largest contributor to the global array after the US.

“The Argo community has really led the way in creating a data-sharing culture. By making data access free and open, it’s breaking down the silos once set up to collect and protect observations,” says Dr Peter Oke, an Ocean Modelling and Data Assimilation Research Scientist at CSIRO, which partners on the Argo project.

Australia contributing to success of Research Data Alliance

Dr Andrew Treloar, ANDS Director of Technology

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) is an international organisation, founded in 2013, that is focused on the development of infrastructure and community activities aimed at reducing barriers to data sharing and exchange, and promoting the acceleration of data driven innovation worldwide.

With over 4,000 members globally, RD-A comprises individuals, organisations and policy makers representing multiple industries and disciplines, who are committed to building the social, organisational and technical infrastructure  needed to reduce barriers to data sharing and exchange, and accelerating data driven innovation worldwide. This occurs through over 70 Interest and Working Groups.

The founding entities for the RD-A were projects funded by the European Commission, the National Science Federation in the US and the Australian Government (through ANDS, funded by NCRIS).

ANDS saw the establishment of the RD-A as an opportunity to influence international data standards, with a number of ANDS staff heavily involved in the establishment process. Follow-on government funding under NCRIS enabled this involvement to continue at a high level during the first two years of the RD-A. Ongoing engagement with RD-A is now part of ANDS’ normal NCRIS-funded activity.

A distinctly Australian flavour

Australians are now involved in a range of critical aspects of RD-A governance: the RD-A Council (its senior governing body), the Technical Advisory Board and the Secretariat. In addition, other ANDS staff are involved in leading Working and Interest Groups, and other Australians are members of the Technical Advisory Board and Organisational Advisory Board.

This degree of involvement and influence is greater than one might expect from a country of 23 million people, and reflects both the increasing degree of data maturity across the nation, and the way in which ANDS realised at an early stage the value of deep engagement with the RD-A.

We may not have succeeded in converting many RD-A members to the delights of Vegemite, but it is definitely the case that the RD-A has a distinctively Australian flavor.

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