Considering social licence to use personal health information for research: The Consumer Opinions about Research Data Sharing (CORDS) study

Michelle Krahe1, Eleanor Milligan2, Sheena Reilly3

1Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia,

2School of Medicine, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia,

3Health Group, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia,



Health data which is routinely collected during the course of patient care, is a valuable resource to the advancement of research and can be an effective and efficient alternative to performing large-scale and costly clinical studies [1, 2]. Together with the growing capabilities of data analytics and our increasing capacity to link discrete datasets, the enhanced use of health data presents a remarkable opportunity for research [3-5].

In Australia, surveys indicate strong support for the use of health data in research [6], particularly when it is used for public benefit and there is trust in the organisation or individual/s conducting the research [7, 8]. For example, just under half of Australians were comfortable with government agencies using their personal data for research or policy-making [9]. Understanding consumer perspectives about the use of personal health information for research purposes is both implicit to achieving data reform in Australia, and establish a ‘social licence’ for data sharing and reuse.

To date, most of what we know about public perceptions of health research have centered on matters of privacy, consent, autonomy and use of data [10, 11], but the precursors that encourage people to share (or not share) can also be explained by the influence of social legitimacy and credibility in the presence or absence of risk or trust. We propose that examining public perceptions specifically through the lens of risk perception and trust as a measure of willingness to share data, may inform more effective strategies to engage and foster a social licence for the use of personal health information in research.


The Consumer Opinions about Research Data Sharing (CORDS) study, was a prospective cross-sectional survey with 249 participants who were attending a large tertiary health clinic located on the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University, Australia. The survey was designed to explore consumer opinions about: (i) exposure and value of research; (ii) willingness to share personal health information; (iii) perceived risk of data-linkage research; and (iv) trust that data will be used responsibly.

Descriptive statistics were applied questions containing Likert-type scales were analysed as nominal data and expressed as counts and percentages with weighted means ± SD. Analysis of the survey data used the chi-square (c2) test of independence to determine the presence of an association. All analyses were conducted using SPSS statistics (version 25.0, IBM) and the study was approved by the Griffith University Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref.2017/818).


The majority of respondents had never participated in research (61%), despite strong consensus and explicit agreement that research was ‘very important’ to Australia’s future (weighted mean of 4.86 ± 0.40), and 80% indicated they would be ‘likely’ to participate in the future.

The relationship between perceived risk of sharing personal health information and willingness to share personal health information was not significant (p=0.53), with most participants (76%) categorised as risk assured (perceived risk was low or very low) and just over two thirds were willing to share their data for research.

Participants expressed less willingness towards sharing items of information which are more sensitive, intrusive or identifiable (i.e. personal or location details). The relationship between trust in others to use data responsibly and the perception of risk involved in sharing personal health information, is illustrated in Figure 1. Overall, findings suggest three key influences of consumer willingness to share data: (i) data type; (ii) risk perception; and (iii) trust in who is accessing the data.

Figure 1. Trust (                                                     ) in different professions and entities to use personal health information responsibly, as distributed by risk (concerned, aware and assured) perceived to be related to participation in research that involves personal health information. The X-axis represents the proportion of respondents in each trust category. Markers were not shown for trust categories that were zero.


This study suggests that while consumers view sharing personal health information for research mostly positively, their willingness to share is not exclusively motivated by perceived risk. Where individuals perceive risk in environments of low trust, support for sharing data decreases.

This presentation will conclude by examining potential strategies to address factors which are important to securing a social licence for the use of data in future health and medical research. These might include strategies for building trust and credibility between the public and entities accessing and using the data; establishing confidence in the research endeavour through a shared understanding of the benefits that flow from greater access and use of health data (i.e. mitigating perceived risks); or addressing public concern related to the sensitivity and regulation of different types of data.


  • Brook, E.L., D.L. Rosman, and C.D.J. Holman, Public good through data linkage: measuring research outputs from the Western Australian Data Linkage System. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2008. 32(1): p. 19-23.
  1. Sibthorpe, B., E. Kliewer, and L. Smith, Record linkage in Australian epidemiological research: health benefits, privacy safeguards and future potential. Aust J Public Health, 1995. 19(3): p. 250-6.
  2. Holman, C.D., et al., A decade of data linkage in Western Australia: strategic design, applications and benefits of the WA data linkage system. Aust Health Rev, 2008. 32(4): p. 766-77.
  3. Jutte, D.P., L.L. Roos, and M.D. Brownell, Administrative record linkage as a tool for public health research. Annu Rev Public Health, 2011. 32: p. 91-108.
  4. Kelman, C.W. and A.J. Bass, Research use of linked health data – a best practice protocol. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2002. 26(3): p. 251-255.
  5. Research Australia Ltd., Australia Speaks Opinion Polling 2017, in Australia speaks! 2017.
  6. Aitken, M., et al., Public responses to the sharing and linkage of health data for research purposes: a systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative studies. BMC Med Ethics, 2016. 17(1): p. 73.
  7. Ohm, P., Broken promises of privacy: Responding to the surprising failure of anonymization. UCLA Law Review, 2010. 57(6): p. 1701-1777.
  8. Van Souwe, J., et al., Australian community attitudes to privacy survey, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Editor. 2017. p. 51.
  9. Bachmann, R., N. Gillespie, and R. Priem, Repairing trust in organizations and institutions: Toward a conceptual framework. Organization Studies, 2015. 36(9): p. 1123-1142.
  10. King, T., L. Brankovic, and P. Gillard, Perspectives of Australian adults about protecting the privacy of their health information in statistical databases. Int J Med Inform, 2012. 81(4): p. 279-89.


Dr Michelle Krahe is a research professional with a passion for strategy, development and innovation in health. She is a Senior Research Fellow within the Health Executive at Griffith University and a Visiting Research Fellow with Gold Coast University Hospital. Michelle is responsible for the development and management of research initiatives for the Pro Vice Chancellor (Health) and has over 12 years’ experience in clinical research, working in academia, health services and research institutes.

Ethics and responsibility in data-intensive research

Fiona Tweedie1, Mark Fallu 2

1University of Melbourne, Australia,

2University of Melbourne, Australia,


Ethics in a data-intensive environment

As more data becomes available to researchers and advances in analytics make it possible to use data in novel ways, new risks and challenges arise that are not adequately addressed by existing tools and procedures. Privacy regulations cover the use of personal information and ethics committees provide guidance in research using human subjects.
Research using behavioural data, however, may not directly involve personal information or require the participation of human subjects, meaning that these established processes may not be triggered or provide adequate guidance if they are. There is, however, a growing recognition that insufficiently critical uses of big data and AI can have real and detrimental effects on individuals [1].

The Digital and Data team at the University of Melbourne was established to build future readiness through coordinated investment into digital and data capabilities. Creating an environment where data users are confident to experiment with data, supported by clear frameworks and robust ethical guard-rails, is essential to building the innovative organisations that will thrive in the future. This presentation will showcase the Data Ethics Canvas being developed by Digital and Data to enable the teams behind data-intensive projects to identify potential harms and mitigate the possibility of unintended consequences flowing from their work.


  1. See, for instance, Cathy O’Neil Weapons of Math Destruction, (Crown, 2016), Sara Wachter-Boettcher, Technically Wrong, (W.W. Norton, 2017) and Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression (NYU Press, 2018)


Fiona Tweedie is the data policy and strategy advisor in the Digital and Data team at the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked in data management and advice roles in the private and public sectors, including time working on open data policy at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. She has a PhD in Ancient History.

Mark Fallu is a higher education research technology specialist with a deep history of building tools and developing policy to support research. He is the research lead for Digital and Data at UoM. His current focus is on developing and implementing a roadmap for research business administration and data management. Mark is a practical innovator and a passionate communicator, with special interests in semantic web, data analysis and visualisation.

Scientific Programmers at NeSI growing researcher capability

Dr Georgina Rae1, Dr Chris Scott2, Dr Alexander Pletzer3, Dr Wolfgang Hayek4,

1New Zealand eScience Infrastructure, Auckland, New Zealand,

2New Zealand eScience Infrastructure, Auckland, New Zealand,

3New Zealand eScience Infrastructure, Wellington, New Zealand,

4New Zealand eScience Infrastructure & National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New Zealand,


The New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) is New Zealand’s High Performance Computing (HPC) provider and has a vision to grow the capability of New Zealand researchers through the use of digital tools. NeSI’s team includes highly skilled Scientific Programmers who work alongside researchers via training and consultancy projects, providing access to computational skills they wouldn’t otherwise have. This presentation will provide some insight into how NeSI runs these national services with recent case studies, including delving into some of our successes and the challenges we face.


Georgina is Engagement Manager at NeSI where she leads outreach, training, consultancy and stakeholder engagement activities. She has a background in molecular biology and has also worked in intellectual property and commercialisation.

Figshare, being FAIR and open data everywhere

Dr Mark Hahnel1, Mr Patrick Splawa-neyman1

1Figshare, London, United Kingdom


The presentation will discuss the FAIR data principles and how figshare currently supports them. Numerous webinars and seminars have covered the FAIR principles in general but this presentation will demonstrate with specific examples how figshare complies with the principles. As Figshare progresses from a data repository to a fully functional institutional repository, development work is required to ensure that figshare is FAIR for humans as well as machines. Figshare has been actively promoting the FAIR data principles since their inception and sees them as guiding principles that align with figshare’s ideal of reusable open data.

Additionally, in 2016, Figshare released the results of its first global survey of over 2000 researchers in a report that assessed the global landscape around open data and sharing practices. The report highlighted the extent of awareness around open data, incentives around its use, and perspectives researchers have about making their own research data open.

The survey was repeated in 2017 and this year we will present a preview of the findings of the 2018 report, due to be released during Open Access Week 2018. The presentation will focus on highlights of the report including:

  • Respondents’ awareness of open data
  • The impact of age on open data
  • The curation of data for sharing
  • The willingness of researchers to reuse open data sets in their own research
  • Routine data sharing
  • The proportion of researchers who have never made a data set openly available
  • Trends for the future of open data


Dr. Mark Hahnel is the Founder of Figshare, a web-based platform that opens up scientific data to the world, making it available to anyone. He completed his PhD in stem cell biology at Imperial College London, having previously studied genetics in both Newcastle and Leeds. The idea for Figshare was first born in 2010 while Mark was studying at Imperial College London, before launching in 2012 as a portfolio company of Digital Science. He is a passionate and prominent member of the open science movement and its potential to revolutionise the research community.

The Research Hub: Design and realisation of an actionable catalogue of connected research IT support services

Dr Cameron Mclean1, Dr Jamie Diprose1, Dr Doris Jung1, Mr Sina Masoud-Ansari1, Ms Yvette Wharton1, Prof. Mark Gahegan1

1Centre for eResearch, University of Auckland, New Zealand, ,,, ,,



We describe the development of the Research Hub – a web application being developed at the University of Auckland to tie together all the various tools and services used to support research. The Research Hub provides a single point of access for researchers to find, discover, request support, and manage service allocations provided from across the University in support of their research activities. The Research Hub connects data, services, instruments, resources, outputs, and people throughout the research cycle, and provides an opportunity to capture data on how these various components are used together to give a more detailed institutional record of research activities, assets and outcomes. We will showcase the design and development of our Research Hub, demonstrate its functionality, share the challenges and lessons learnt, future directions, and reusable service design tools[1,2] and researcher needs and experience we have developed and captured along the way.


Services available to researchers are numerous, and are provided from facilities scattered across the university, such as the Library, central IT, Centre for eResearch and from within the Faculties. Previously, there was no single place where researchers could go to find information about which IT and research support services are available to them. Often there was confusion about who provides which services from across different organisational units, what resources researchers are entitled to or can expect, and what the process for requesting or accessing them was. As a result of this, we often struggle to record which services are being used, by who, and how they have contributed to current research activities and any research outputs and outcomes. This lack of data also makes it difficult to manage these services, gauge the value they are adding to research and the University, and forecast future needs.

To improve the level of research IT support at the University of Auckland, the Centre for eResearch has lead a Research Enablement stream of work, a tangible outcome of which is an actionable service catalogue: The Research Hub, described above. We believe it is valuable to take a more systemic or holistic view of research activities, and how different units across the University come together to support research activities. We open-source our code and methodologies for developing a service catalogue and information systems to aid other institutions, and prompt a shared conversation around the sustainable management of projects and institutional research services.


Figure 1: Screenshot showing Research Hub content and information architecture.


  1. McLean, Cameron (2016): Lightspeed Customer Journey Mapping. figshare. Fileset.


Dr Cameron McLean is a Research IT Specialist at the Centre for eResearch, University of Auckland. His background is in Molecular Biology and Computer Science. With a strong focus on researcher enablement, his current work revolves around digital scholarship and helping researchers utilise digital tools in a manner that links with the core values of research and scientific enquiry.

Advancing HPC and Data collaborations in Australasia

Dr Jenni Harrison1,2, Mr Mark Gray1,2, Dr Daniel Grimwood1,2, Dr Georgina Rae3, Mr Nick Jones3, Mr Allan Williams4, Mr Peter Elford5

1Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, Kensington, Australia,

2CSIRO, Kensington, Australia,

3New Zealand eScience Infrastructure, Auckland, New Zealand,

4The National Collaborative Infrastructure, Canberra, Australia,

5AARNet, Canberra, Australia



Working cooperatively in an interdisciplinary team is essential to solve complex challenges faced within academic and industry research sectors1.  There are obvious benefits to working as part of a team such as diversity, a wide variety of knowledge, skills and strengths, greater access to resources and funding, a range of facilities and infrastructure and an expanded network of contacts, just to mention a few.  As a consequence, often national collaborations are funded by Governments for various reasons including policy ambitions or to encourage knowledge creation (often in science or engineering) to facilitate economic growth2.

An International Perspective

In the last twenty years, in the eScience / eResearch / HPC world, globally there has been an increase in collaborative working between institutions and across countries, especially in Europe and the US.  For example, in 2015, Nordic eScience and eInfrastructure plan 2.03 was published.  This report was an update to the highly successful Nordic eScience and eInfrastructure plan, published in 2008, written and developed by the Nordic eScience Initiative (eNORIA) group4 which is a collaboration between Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland.  The key areas highlighted the Nordic eScience and eInfrastructure plan 2.03 include:

  • Creating a Higher Education Arena for eScience
  • Enabling eScience as an Omnipresent Tool in Research
  • Knowledge Creation through Cross-Border Sharing of eInfrastructure

The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) was established to enable scientific and engineering research to “enhance European competitiveness for the benefit of society”5. PRACE operatives as a cooperative offering European researchers access to world class computing and data resources as well as services.  More generally, the PRACE partnership is also striving to reduce its impact on the environment by driving and demanding energy efficiency in HPC.  With obvious parallels with the ambitions of the eNORIA group, PRACE has four main interest areas which include:

  • Education and training
  • HPC Access
  • Research Infrastructure
  • HPC Market Surveillance

In the US, the Big Data Innovation Hubs (established by the National Science Foundation) have been set up across the country to “accelerate partnerships among people in business, academia, and government who apply data science and analytics to help solve regional and national challenges6”.  By nature, these Hubs are large in size.  For example, the South Big Data Hub serves 16 States and has more than 500 members (including universities, corporations, foundations, and cities).  Again the goal of the Big Data Innovation hub is similar to the collaborations in Europe.  For example, the Hubs set out to:

  • Build data science capacity for education and workforce development
  • Facilitate data sharing and shared cyber infrastructure and services.
  • Accelerate public-private partnerships that break barriers between industry, academia, and government.
  • Grow R&D communities that connect data scientists with domain scientists and practitioners.

The Australasian Context
There are no similar collaborative science partnerships existing within Australasia, although Australia (through AARNet) has a world-class national and international computer network.  Australia in particular is challenged by geographic scale, with Perth, WA being the most isolated capital on the planet.  At the same time, Boolardy WA is the location of two of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA)7 Pathfinder projects, with the SKA being one of the world’s largest science (radio astronomy) and engineering projects.

The two of the SKA precursors, Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) are located in Boolardy WA, with the data processing engine located in Perth.  However, when operational, it is estimated that the SKA will generate a massive quantity of data, ~ 3 TB transmitted every second to data processing engine.  This sheer size of the data generated, its processing, analysis and storage makes this a global problem.  There are many other science and engineering projects in Australasia which could considerably benefit from the efforts of collaborations, for example, in Climate Modelling, Biosciences, Health Sciences, Geosciences and informatics.


Being part of a successful and ongoing partnership is often complex.  Collaboration is highly regarded as an effective means to tackle challenges (especially in science and engineering).  However, achieving a successful ongoing collaboration is often hard to achieve and sustain with failure widespread8.  Most HPC Centres serve the academic community at least to some degree.  Correspondingly some of the pressures faced by higher education, are also faced by HPC providers.  For example, there is often pressure (internally and externally) to respond to economic, political and / or social need9. Often Centres have multiple stakeholders with competing, significant demands in an environment of uncertain funding, particularly from the Government Sector. In the context of Australasia, there are also “local” issues, such as an expanse of geography, time zone differences, and language and cultural differences.   How then can we create an opportunity for a successful collaborative partnership in Australasia that services the needs of local / national customers and offers the benefits of being effectively connected internationally with the rest of Australasia?


The Authors seek to establish an effective collaborative partnership from Singapore via Australia to New Zealand, making this proposed partnership one of great opportunity as well as diversity and significant distance (~8000Kms).   If successful this partnership of HPC Centres would be one of the largest (geographically) anywhere in the world, spanning multiple countries and time zones.  Some of the key areas that the partnership would initially focus on include supporting skills development and gaining access to knowledge and skills not available locally.  We would expect to build on the very successful partnerships in computer networking that AARNet has undertaken, including its trans-Pacific network capacity, which has benefited New Zealand, its world-class national networks, which span from Cairns to Boolardy (at multiples of 100Gbps), and more recently Project Indigo, collaborating with Telstra, Singtel and others to provide terabit-scale capacity between Perth and Singapore (and Sydney), and the Japan-Guam-Australia cable in conjunction with Google and others.  AARNet’s CloudStor “Data Hub” could also provide a platform for bringing researchers wishing to share data together, both the few with very large datasets, and the many with smaller datasets.


The BoF session will be 60 minutes in duration.  At this BoF the Authors will examine some of the challenges and opportunities that such a partnership presents. The format of the session is a mixture of presentations, facilitated discussion as follows:

  • Understanding the background of international collaborations [10 mins];
  • The opportunities presented by an Australasian Collaborative Network [10 mins];
  • The challenges of developing and sustaining international collaborations from an Australasian perspective [10 mins];
  • Facilitated discussion regarding Australasian Collaborative Network would bring, including best practice [25 mins];
  • Wrap up [5 mins].

The presentations will be provided/convened by the listed presenters.

The targeted audience for the session includes anyone with an interest in how collaborations between organisations across countries can be used to facilitate the sharing of education, eResearch tools or infrastructure to support the research community. A primary goal for the BoF facilitated discussion is to initiate conversations aimed at promoting collaboration, therefore this BoF is not discipline specific.


  1. Neumann, P., et al., Interdisciplinary teamwork in HPC education: Challenges, concepts, and outcomes. Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing (2017) Vol 105, pp83-91.
  2. Wagner, C. S., International collaboration in science and technology: promises and pitfalls. Science and Technology Policy for Development, Dialogues at the Interface’ by Louk Box and Rutger Engelhard (eds) (2006) Anthem Press London UK. See: s77l634iqvoni0t6vk67 [accessed June 2018]
  3. Nordic eScience and eInfrastructure plan 2.0: eScience and eInfrastructure in an international context. Available from [accessed 8th June 2018]
  4. eNORIA Group [accessed 8th June 2018]
  5. PRACE – The Scientific Case for High Performance Computing in Europe 2012-2020 [accessed 8th June 2018]
  6. Big Southern Data Innovation Hub, [accessed 8th June 2018]
  7. The Square Kilometer Array [accessed 8th June 2018]
  8. Marek, L., I., Brock, D-J., P. & Savla, J., Evaluating Collaboration for Effectiveness: Conceptualization and Measurement. American Journal of Evaluation (2014) pp1-19.
  9. Daniel, B., Big Data and analytics in higher education: opportunities and challenges. Journal of Educational Technology (2015) Vol 46, No. 5 pp904-920.


I migrated to WA in 2011, to direct the Data Team at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, a national facility providing researchers access to leading computation and data resources. I now lead strategic projects and engagement at Pawsey. In my present role, my responsibilities include directing strategic projects, developing strategy for Pawsey as well as leading and sustaining strategic partnerships with key stakeholders.

I am presently engaged in the development of a cooperative network of centres in Asia Pacific to increase diversity, form new collaborative projects, support new training initiatives, solve technical challenges and highlight new opportunities.

Digital Infrastructure in the Humanities and Social Sciences in Australia – What now and where to next?

Ms Alexis Tindall1, Mr Greg D’Arcy2, Ms Ingrid Mason3

1eRSA, Adelaide, Australia

2The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

3Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet), Canberra, Australia



This BoF is intended to occur in two parts – a presentation on the current HASS DEVL project, then a BoF discussion on the future of HASS infrastructure in Australia.

The Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) infrastructure landscape is characterised by high value but fragmented data, tools and services. The HASS Data Enhanced Virtual Lab (HASS DEVL) establishes workflows across national capabilities and research institutions with the aim of creating a more cohesive and interoperable landscape.

The 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap highlighted the collaboration and integration prioritised need to make dispersed data sets more easily discoverable, accessible and researchable. Greater interoperability across data platforms and the research projects consuming and establishing data is a core goal of this project. As a consequence, the HASS community will directly benefit from the provision of national tools, improved and documented data curation standards, and improved workflows.

The project specifically targets the social sciences, linguistics, and historical studies but the data curation and interoperability frameworks ensure applicability to all HASS disciplines involving the collection of historical records, archival research, transcription, text analysis, mapping and geospatial data. Project outcomes will also broadly benefit research users of TROVE, ADA and AURIN.

But where to from here?

Part One: The HASS DEVL

The panel will discuss the work undertaken in 2018 on the HASS DEVL infrastructure, elaborating on both processes and outcomes.

This section will include lightning presentations from:

  • Workbench design and development
  • Data curation
  • Skills and training

Part Two: Future eResearch directions for HASS

A facilitated discussion sharing and responding to consultation findings, sharing our experience of project delivery across a dispersed collaborative team, and looking forward at key research infrastructure challenges for HASS.

Discussion will explore the following:

  • Challenges in development of data infrastructure that enables diverse HASS disciplines, including identifying need, ensuring accessibility, and sustainability
  • Working across a dispersed team
  • Current and future users of HASS research infrastructure – what are the tools already in use and what will be needed next? What happens after this project? What do researchers need?


Alexis, Greg and Ingrid lead the three streams of activity under the ARDC funded Humanities Arts and Social Sciences Data Enhanced Virtual Laboratory (HASS DEVL). They are working with a dispersed collaborative team representing twelve organisations to deliver a workbench environment for digital research tools, explore common issues of platform interoperability and develop a data curation framework and put together a package of skillbuilding opportunities as part of the DEVL.

Digital Science and International Cooperation: new opportunities for digitally enabled AU-EU ICT research collaboration

Dr Erich Prem1, Jonathan Arthur2

1Eutema, Vienna, Austria,
2Intersect, Sydney, Australia

The massive trend towards the internationalization of research is changing both the global and local landscapes of research (Adams 2014, OECD 2008, Wagner et al. 2015). An expanding set of digital tools and an improving and globally accessible digital infrastructure facilitate international cooperation. Digitization has not only changed business practices and many aspects of everyday life; it is also affecting scientific processes. Scientists in all disciplines have quickly adopted new digital means and formats used for discussing scientific theories, disseminating results of their work, acquiring funding and collaborating across institute boundaries (Anderson et al. 2005, Mackenzie Owen 2007).

This increased digitization of science is also changing the relation of science and society – and science policy. The boundaries of what is to be considered a national research policy is much less clearer today than it was only a decade ago. Policy makers interested in sustaining national competitiveness are faced with large multinational players – in academia and industry – who opportunistically source research and innovation globally. On the other hand, digitization of research is opening science not just for scientists, but also for a global public. This not only enables access to scientific publications, but also goes much further in making available data, software, even infrastructure together with instructional videos and tutorials. It has been argued that this is a transformative step for scientific knowledge from being a club good to a truly public good (Prem 2015). eResearch and the digitization of science therefore need to be put in the context of international collaboration in research and beyond.

The European Commission has recently proposed to start negotiations of a free trade agreement with Australia. This may provide new opportunities including those in accessing e-infrastructure, databases, satellite data sources, and more generally for cooperation with European researchers in academia and industry. This workshop is organized by EPIC – Europe’s ICT research and innovation partnership with Australia with the aim to discuss the following questions:

  1. What is the role of eResearch, e-Infrastructures and digital science in international research cooperation? Do we have the right tools or are we missing important components?
  • What are the Australian interests in Europe’s eResearch and digital science facilities and how could European researchers benefit from Australian eResearch resources?
  • What will be necessary next steps in improving EU/AU cooperation in digital research, especially in the area of ICT? What is needed from Europe’s and Australian research policy makers?
  • What are the new and most promising innovation opportunities arising from strengthened partnership between Europe and Australia?


This half-day workshop aims to define the necessary next steps to devise a roadmap for improved European-Australian collaboration in ICT research and innovation. Australian and European experts will discuss current challenges and forthcoming opportunities in 1-2 panels with the workshop participants. Contributions are welcome and should be sent to one of the coordinators by August 31.

The workshop will be held in close interaction with participants to collect a broad range of inputs. Panel experts will provide short input statements and discuss contributions from the participants.


  • researchers in digital science, e-Infrastructure and eResearch
  • ICT researchers interested in international cooperation
  • stakeholders interested in furthering Australia’s research cooperation with the European Union
  • research policy makers and agencies supporting eResearch and international research cooperation



560. Adams (2013) The fourth age of research. In: Nature, Vol. 497, pp. 557-560.

Anderson, Cokie; Bremholm, Tony; Hemminger, Bradley; Brown, Cecelia; Vaughan, K.T. (2005), The impact of digitization of scientific information on the scholarly communication of scientists. Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 40 (1).

Mackenzie Owen, John (2007), The Scientific Article in the Age of Digitization. Springer, Dordrecht, NL.OECD (2008) The internationalisation of business R&D. Evidence, impacts, and implications. OECD.

Erich Prem, ICT and science 2.0: technology-mediated trends and characteristics of new scientific practices. Proc. 15th International Conference on Knowledge Technologies and Data-Driven Business, ACM, 2015.

C.S. Wagner, H.W. Park, L. Leydesdorff (2015) The continuing growth of global cooperation networks in research: a conundrum for national governments. In: PLoS ONE 10(7): e0131816.


Dr. Erich Prem is chief RTI strategy advisor and CEO of eutema GmbH. He is a regular coordinator of international research projects, evaluator of RTD projects for the European Commission and an experienced programme manager of funding programmes.

Erich Prem is a certified managerial economist and works scientifically in artificial intelligence, research politics, innovation research and epistemology. He published more than 70 scientific papers and was a guest researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Dr. phil. (epistemology) from thte University of Vienna, his from TU Vienna where he also completed his master in computer science (Dipl.Ing). He was a lecturer at TU Vienna’s Informatics Innovation Center. He received his MBA in General Management from Donau University.


The National Research Data Cloud 2025

Rob Cook1, Peter Elford2

1Pangalax, Brisbane, Australia,

2AARNet, Canberra, Australia,



The National Research Data Cloud (ARDC), integrating and further developing the work of the ANDS, Nectar and RDS Project, is a priority recommendation from the 2016 Research Infrastructure Roadmap [1]. As a result the Department of Education and Training has instigated a review, chaired by Professor Robyn Owens, to propose a future design for such a national research data cloud and a transition plan to move from the current situation towards the new design.

In this BoF Rob Cook will report the current state of the review and its proposals about potential future design characteristics, and his report will be followed by a panel session discussing and seeking feedback about important questions that have arisen during the review.  The panel discussion will be facilitated by Peter Elford and the panel itself will include representatives of all the major stakeholder groups.  The panellists will be asked to respond briefly and then a number of key questions will be posed to the panel and the audience.  The discussion is expected to explore how the future research data cloud could and should fit into the overall Australian e-Infrastructure landscape. There will be a particular focus on how the ARDC might interact with existing eResearch providers including NCI, Pawsey, AARNet, and the AAF, and with the universities, institutions and organisations that host the research communities we are collectively trying to serve. Attendees will be encouraged to consider what the ARDC will be like in 2025.   The BoF will focus on what might be possible rather than immediate next steps and its outputs will assist the current review process and provide some pointers to how future investment will provide the greatest national research impact.

This BoF aligns to The Connected Researcher theme, but is likely to be of wide interest to all attendees.

[1] 2016 Research Infrastructure Roadmap,



Appreciating the ‘Method to the madness’ in Research; Optimizing the Madness via eResearch Technology

Miss Amanda Miotto1

1Griffith University, Nathan, Brisbane, Australia,



This presentation aims to highlight the value of documenting the processes for research groups: Working alongside researchers to map out their processes for their workflow pipelines, with the goal of preemptively identifying potential issues and opening up possibilities using technology to accelerate their research.

In our experience most research groups work organically- small groups working on two or three problems at the same time, all interlinked but each group looking at unique questions and often for an answer that leads itself to more questions. It can be difficult to maintain efficient and methodical workflows when you are often heading in a number of directions at the same time, uncertain where your question will lead you.

Our aim is to gain an understanding about their workflows and highlight areas where technology can enable and accelerate research. Sitting with the researchers on the ground floor, we work together to gain an understanding around their research path, map their process and data workflow and expand their documentation.

Introducing someone with a fresh perspective, without assumptions, can bring new viewpoints to problems and offer ‘out of the box’ thinking. This can illuminate areas that have previously needed to be complicated or flexible but on re-evaluation have stabilized and are ready for optimization. These interactions can also spark the conversation regarding relevant emerging eResearch technology which can enable new revenues of outcomes and collaborations; as well as highlighting appropriate data management.

Mapping these processes and data flow can have further benefits. Having proper documentation can assist new staff coming into the team, technical groups needing current infrastructure information, offer transparency for managers and audits, encourage reproducible and responsible research and reduce the knowledge lost when contracts finish or students move on.

To complicate matters, when researchers have the time to invest in their data management, it’s often difficult to know where to start. Solutions can err on either side of extremely broad or far too specialized and intricate. Then there is the paradox of when to implement a data management plan. In the beginning of a research project, there may be not enough information about future data to form a data management plan, however further down the research lifecycle there may be an overwhelmingly diverse stockpile of data to keep track of. These discussions on workflow lead to suggestions in data management resources and provides ready-made documentation for data librarians.

In this session, we will share our experiences and lessons learnt; moving on to an open discussion regarding the experiences of others. This talk would be of interest to researchers, managers and supporting staff.



Amanda Miotto is an eResearch Support Specialist and Software Developer for Griffith University. She started off in the field of BioInformatics and learnt to appreciate the beauty of science before discovering the joys of coding. She is heavily involved in Software Carpentry, Hacky Hours and Research Bazaar, and has worked on platforms around HPC, microscopy & scientific database portals; as well as engagement with research groups  highlighting relevant upcoming technologies.

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    About the conference

    eResearch Australasia provides opportunities for delegates to engage, connect, and share their ideas and exemplars concerning new information centric research capabilities, and how information and communication technologies help researchers to collaborate, collect, manage, share, process, analyse, store, find, understand and re-use information.

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