Open data and research infrastructures in focus at conference
The importance of research infrastructures and open data in the digital era was the theme of a conference held during Sweden’s presidency of the EU in Lund on 19–20 June. At the conference, Mats Persson, Minister for Education, presented a declaration about maximising the advantages of research data, which 19 European countries to date are backing.
How is society impacted by digitisation in research? What are the opportunities and challenges of collaboration on open data and research infrastructures, and how can these develop society and contribute to solutions? These were some of the questions dealt with during the conference “The potential of research data – new opportunities and advantages for society through research infrastructure”, which was arranged by the Swedish Research Council together with the Government Offices and Vinnova in Lund, as part of Sweden’s presidency of the EU.
Participants included Signe Ratso, Acting Director General of Research and Innovation at the European Commission, as well as representatives of a number of research infrastructures and policy bodies in Europe.
In addition to its role as a funding body for research infrastructure, the Swedish Research Council has been mandated to promote and coordinate the work of introducing open access to research data in Sweden. One of the goals is to increase understanding of what open access to research data entails, and what needs to be done. As part of the mandate, the Swedish Research Council is also working on issues relating to FAIR data management and data management plans.
The Swedish Research Council’s Director General, Katarina Bjelke, took part in two of the panel discussions at the conference. She highlighted that research infrastructures can drive innovation and socio-economic development, and also be crucial for creating strong research environments.
In conjunction with the conference, a declaration was presented about maximising the advantages of research data. The ‘Lund Declaration’ underlines that research data that are FAIR and open from the start can increase the quality, effectiveness, transparency and integrity of research and innovation.
Mats Persson, Minister for Education, emphasised that the declaration is important for the ongoing work towards a transition to an open science system, and that this is a priority issue for Sweden.
In May 2023, the European Council also adopted conclusions that encourage member states to update their national strategies and guidelines for open access to make scientific publications accessible immediately with open licences, and to apply the FAIR principles for data.
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