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*Download Mark's slides and view a similar video at the CDI blog*

Mark Parsons, Research Data Alliance Secretary General

Open Data is Not Enough

2pm MT / 4p ET, Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

Denver Federal Center Bldg 810, Columbine Room (near SW entrance)

WebEx:, select “CDI Open Data, Mark Parsons”

USGS/DOI Dial In Number: (703) 648-4848 (for USGS and DOI offices)

Toll Free Dial In Number: (855) 547-8255 (for other offices and telecommute locations)

Conference Code: 27280775# (same for both numbers)



In recent years governments and research institutions have emphasized the need for open data as a fundamental component of open science. But we need much more than the data themselves for them to be reusable and useful. We need descriptive and machine-readable metadata, of course, but we also need the software and the algorithms necessary to fully understand the data. We need the standards and protocols that allow us to easily read and analyze the data with the tools of our choice. We need to be able to trust the source and derivation of the data. In short, we need an interoperable data infrastructure, but it must be a flexible infrastructure able to work across myriad cultures, scales, and technologies. This talk will present a concept of infrastructure as a body of human, organisational, and machine relationships built around data. It will illustrate how a new organization, the Research Data Alliance, is working to build those relationships to enable functional data sharing and reuse.

Mark Parsons is the first Secretary General of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and an Associate Director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications. Before being appointed Secretary General, Mark was the Managing Director of RDA/United States and the Rensselaer Center for the Digital Society. He focusses on stewarding research data and making them more accessible and useful across different ways of knowing. He has been leading major data stewardship efforts for more than 20 years, and received the American Geophysical Union Charles S. Falkenberg Award as an advocate of robust data stewardship as a vital component of Earth system science and as an important profession in its own right.

Prior to joining Rensselaer, Mark was a Senior Associate Scientist and the Lead Project Manager at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). While at NSIDC, he defined and implemented their overall data management process and led the data management effort for the ICSU/WMO International Polar Year 2007-2008. He is currently active in several international committees while helping lead the Research Data Alliance in its goal of accelerating innovation through data exchange.  As a geographer, his research interests include the role of social interaction in the success, development, and extension of data sharing networks.