Big data! The tsunami of data is upon us! We hear a great deal about the complexity of the new data environment and the infrastructure that supports it, but in this issue of Share we focus on the Champions of Research Data – those researchers who have embraced this new environment, using data from a wide variety of sources, to make new discoveries.
Some areas of research, such as the social sciences, have a rich history of using shared data resources to conduct some of their strongest research – the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey and The Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA) are both widely cited in the literature. In other areas, shared data is becoming an absolute necessity, such as with global climate models which run into petabytes and represent vast amounts of High Performance Computing.
We highlight areas where data sharing has not been routine, but where the benefits of conducting open science has had many benefits. Some are obvious, but the ability to attract great students internationally has occurred in both chemistry and marine biology, not to mention tackling globally significant challenges such as malaria eradication, and understanding the ocean's response to climate change.
The word 'globally' is key here. Australia is assembling terrific data assets, and great data infrastructure, but we need our Champions of Research Data to lead Australia in international collaboration over data – because neither data nor research challenges respect borders! So read through these pages, and see what's happening here and around the world in data with oceans of Argo floats, and data coming in from the Universe, and see how our Champions are tackling the challenges.
Ross Wilkinson, October 2015