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International Workshop on the Information Commons for e-Science

01-09-2005 - On 1 September the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura; Mr Shuichi Iwata, President of the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA); and Professor Paul A. David of Oxford and Stanford Universities, opened the International Workshop on “Creating the Information Commons for e-Science: Toward Institutional Policies and Guidelines for Action” at UNESCO Headquarters.

Organized by CODATA and the International Council for Science (ICSU), and co-sponsored by several international bodies including UNESCO, the Workshop has attracted participation from leading figures involved in international science information policy.

Mr Matsuura located UNESCO’s engagement with the theme of the Workshop in the context of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process, informing the participants of UNESCO’s strategic emphasis on building knowledge societies and “how certain principles can best be operationalized, namely, freedom of expression; respect for cultural and linguistic diversity; universal access to information; and equal access to quality education for all.”

Observing that the theme of the Workshop “connects with many lively issues at the dynamic interface between knowledge, research and information-sharing in the digital age”, the Director-General highlighted “the interdependency between sharing technological and scientific knowledge and accelerating development”, and the importance of universal access. He said that, following the Geneva phase of the WSIS, UNESCO is stressing the need to translate agreed principles into concrete action, including the area of e-Science. It supports the search to find new ways of using technology to facilitate access and to build new models for sharing scientific information through networks, the development of standards and metadata, and online repositories (the “information commons”). “We recognize that sharing digital scientific information and data has an important role to play in the building of knowledge societies,” said the Director-General, adding that “we are prepared to take responsibility for coordinating multi-stakeholder implementing teams dealing with the Action Lines that fall within UNESCO’s competency such as science.”

Noting that the Workshop “anticipates the Action Lines of the WSIS Plan of Action”, the Director-General welcomed its “practical, policy-oriented and experienced-based approach”, an orientation “which is exactly right at this juncture for addressing the challenges we face.”

Source Flash Info n°141-2005





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