5 October 2020
Collaboration is a touchstone of modern scientific research. STFC uses open data projects that allow researchers to work together to increase the circulation and exploitation of knowledge.
Open data is the concept that output from research should be readily available for other scientists, industry workers and the general public to use. It falls within the Open Science initiative, the umbrella movement making scientific research accessible to all. The idea behind open data is to reduce the time spent on redundant research projects and increase the time spent on new projects, meaning data shared is scientific research halved.
According to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), open data could allow a collaboration between 1.7 million European researchers and 70 million professionals in science, technology, the humanities and social sciences. Horizon 2020, an EU Research and Innovation programme, is funding initiatives with the Scientific Computing Department (SCD) and ISIS Muon and Neutron Source at STFC, as well as Diamond Light Source and other organisations, to develop open data systems.
How many people do you think there are between you and Kevin Bacon?
You might have heard of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game that states people are up to six social connections away from each other. What does this have to do with open data? The FREYA project named in acknowledgment of the Norse origin of preceding projects and coordinated by STFC is developing the concept of a PID Graph that uses a data network model similar to this social network idea.
PIDs, or persistent identifiers, are ways of linking digital objects important in research, such as datasets, publications and even the people carrying out the research. They are like URLs on the World Wide Web but should never have broken links - that is why they are called "persistent".
The PID Graph uses the metadata (the descriptive part of the data - such as the author) of each PID to provide connections with other PIDs that are up to two “hops” away. So, if this was a social network, there would only be two degrees of separation, or two Kevin Bacons, between two “people” in an open data system. By making connections like this, the whole research process becomes more transparent and easier to understand.
Did you know? The technology used for PID Graph is also used for the social graphs behind Facebook. Video on YouTube.
What makes data fair? Data from science should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable (FAIR). This means that:
STFC is participating in a project called FAIRsFAIR that aims to provide training and guidelines to scientists on how to ensure FAIR data practices. These principles ensure that all users of FAIR data can agree, fair's fair.
Did you know: A single experiment at ISIS can produce the equivalent of 14 hours of TV streaming content?
At STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), facilities like ISIS and nearby Diamond Light Source produce petabytes of data from experiments carried out on their beamlines. The EOSC Photon and Neutron Data Service (ExPaNDS) project aims to help manage the huge amount of data produced and provide analysis services. At RAL, SCD provides support for the data produced throughout the experimental lifecycle at ISIS and Diamond.
ExPaNDS also draws on FAIR data principles and will be looking at adopting these into the community to improve access to the data generated by national photon and neutron facilities in the UK and across Europe.
The aim is to build a reliable, open innovation environment for scientific research where data from publicly funded research is 'as open as possible, as closed as necessary.' The end goal is to open up all parts of the research process, even the algorithms and code.
Further information on the projects is available from the project websites.
Teams within the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have been working together, and with a community of universities and national laboratories to explore just how this technique could be used to create lightweight mirrors for space – when weight and volume limits are critical!
The North West Training Council’s (NWTC) 50th Annual Apprenticeship Awards were a big night for learners from across the region, but it was Daresbury Laboratory’s apprentices who won big on the night.
An Electrical Engineering Apprentice from Daresbury Laboratory completed his apprenticeship with a work placement at the European Spallation Source (ESS) – an international project which he contributed to here in the UK.
A group of eco-minded staff at Daresbury Laboratory have come together to create a ‘green team’ - sharing ideas and implementing changes relating to the environment and sustainability.
The world’s first plant-powered sensor transmission to a satellite has been achieved thanks to a collaboration between recent STFC business incubatee Lacuna Space and Dutch green-energy specialists Plant-e.
Scientists from King's College London and Manchester University, in collaboration with scientists at ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (ISIS), have carried out the first-ever investigations of the microstructure of aqueous creams.
Apprentices at Daresbury Laboratory came together to celebrate their achievements at the site’s annual apprenticeship awards ceremony.
Daresbury Laboratory (DL) has welcomed schools from across the North West for the annual FIRST LEGO League tournament.
Two thousand years ago the heat of a volcano burned the contents of a library in the doomed Roman city of Herculaneum. Today, a team of researchers from the University of Kentucky, working at the UK and STFC’s x-ray synchrotron Diamond Light Source research facility, are using the light of a billion Suns to hopefully reveal the writing locked away within the ancient charred papyri.
A team of scientists working at the Central Laser Facility (CLF) have made a key breakthrough in understanding how a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii reproduces with its host. The parasite, which causes a disease called toxoplasmosis, can infect almost any warm blooded animal but must reproduce in cats, can control the behaviour of its host and is thought to infect as much as half the world’s human population.
Last updated: 09 October 2020