09/12/2022 | Twenty-five participants from South America, Africa and Europe recently joined the four-day All Atlantic Data 2030 (AA-Data 2030) Stakeholders Workshop which took place in Buenos Aires at the end of November. The event brought together science-policy stakeholders from 11 countries bordering the South Atlantic Ocean to share experiences on the topic of scientific data. From a broader perspective, data is the key (re)source for evidence-based political decision.

The workshop took place in the framework of the EC-funded AANChOR project – All-Atlantic Cooperation for Ocean Research and Innovation – and was organized by Dr Ana Rei and Dr Nicolas Dittert (ZMT/ KDM, Germany), Prof Sandra Torrusio (Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina), and Prof Olga Sato (Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil).

Strategically, the workshop contributed to developing a natural- and social-scientific ocean data platform with historical, current and future ocean data and to defining a minimum set of ocean metadata standards and formats to be used by local, regional and national initiatives in the Atlantic basin.

Aside from discussing the long-term sustainability of AA-Data2030  and revisiting the all Atlantic Data Space Roadmap, the objective of the workshop was to create a first version of the “white paper” regarding data needs. The “white paper” – to be written in all languages relevant to the Atlantic regional space – aims to provide the information and decision-making foundation for local, regional and national science-policy stakeholders (at least for the signatories of the Belém Statement),who are to define the future framework for dealing with data.

Dr. Nicolas Dittert says: “We have started work on a “white paper” titled ‘An Atlantic Data Space for All Scientific Data - the key (re)source for evidence-based political decision’ which indicates the needs and gaps that we identified during the course of our discussions and eventually will be addressed to decision makers in science-policy.”

“We also suggest some of the key actors (stakeholders) who can potentially guide the project towards its successful implementation”, adds Dr Ana Rei, AANChOR project manager and organiser of the workshop. “Finally, we devised an Action Plan to prepare the propagation of the community data standards and promote the interoperability across the All-Atlantic Ocean Data Space”.

Over the course of the workshop participants also recognised several common problems related to scientific data sharing:

  • Organizing data in a presentable and useful way (“Is my data relevant to others?”)
  • Not knowing which repository to use nor the best way to share (meta-)data
  • Costs of sharing data
  • Lack of connection between researchers, natives and stakeholders
  • Need for training capacities

In a first for an AANChOR meeting on scientific data the organisers ha commissioned a local painter to stage an artistic intervention. By mirroring the workshop in his painting, Buenos-Aires-based artist Santiago Espeche gave a surprising and unusual perspective to the topic of scientific data.

Summarizing some of the challenges ahead, Espeche says about the painting he created during the workshop: “My work seeks to visually narrate the status of your data and their community. My answer places you in Dante Alighieri's Purgatory where the reality of your data comes in a direct metaphor as lazy souls aspiring to reach a Paradise which I represented as a box that evokes not only the unification of data but a ‘present continues’ Paradise for future generations."