High Level Panel on Future Data Space

How a vision of the internet of FAIR data becomes a reality.

For this panel, we will ask the panelists to present their ideas about essential aspects of the future data space. Then we will ask some well-known experts of different backgrounds to comment on these ideas and give the panelists the chance to respond. Finally, we will open the floor to the audience to raise questions, present views and give comments.


Wednesday 19 January 2022

13.00 - 17.00 UTC

Purpose of the event

Large sums of money, and equally great ambitions, are already being directed towards developing data/research infrastructures, for science and for industry, and there is no doubt that much additional awareness, new insights and new types of services and tools will emerge. Despite these huge investments there is no agreed view on how the future data space should be organized, what its key pillars should be and how access to data will be managed and facilitated. EOSC for example is based on the FAIR principles and a distributed service landscape, with further specifications currently being derived by expert Task Forces. Similar to the ESFRI process, NFDI relies on a process of discipline-driven infrastructure building, while recognizing that this leaves a gap to be bridged with respect to common services and standards. NIH Commons a conceptual framework for a digital environment was designed to allow efficient storage, manipulation, and sharing of research objects. Meanwhile, big industry is defining strategies for offering services on data based on proprietary binding mechanisms, seriously hampering innovation.

This panel will initiate a discussion across initiatives about major organizational principles and key pillars, and is intended as the first of a series of meetings on this topic. Its goal, therefore, is to identify major aspects that need to be considered when examining the emerging future global data space. For this purpose, we invited four “thinkers” whom we know dare to look ahead without being bound by current projects and political considerations.


Since 2019 Paolo Budroni has been a senior researcher at TU Wien and Head of the EOSC and International Liaison Office ( TU Wien Library). His other positions include Chair of the e-Infrastructures Reflection Group, Coordinator of the Austrian EOSC Mandated Organisation, and member of permanent staff of the University of Vienna (since 1991). Budroni holds a PhD in Philosophy, Art History, and Romance Philology (University of Vienna, 1986).
Luciano Floridi is Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford, and Professor of Sociology of Culture and Communication at the University of Bologna. His areas of expertise include digital ethics, the ethics of AI, the philosophy of information and the philosophy of technology, topics on which he is an internationally renowned authority and has published more than 300 works. He is deeply engaged with emerging policy initiatives on the socio-ethical value and implications of digital technologies and their applications, and collaborates closely on these topics with many governments and companies worldwide.
Luciano Floridi
Beth Plale Panelist
Plale is the McRobbie Professor of Computer Engineering in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University, and serves at the University as Executive Director of the Pervasive Technology Institute and Director of the Data To Insight Center. Plale’s research interests are in AI knowledge representation, safe and trustworthy AI, data management, data provenance, and cloud computing. Plale served at the US National Science Foundation (2017-2021) in a policy position in open science, and is one of the founding members of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) where she served as inaugural chair of the RDA Technical Advisory Board.
Jürgen Renn is a German historian of science, and Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin since 1994. He is honorary professor for History of Science at both the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Freie Universität Berlin. In addition, he has taught at Boston University, at the ETH in Zurich and at the University of Tel Aviv.  Among his most recent publications is The Evolution of Knowledge: Rethinking Science for the Anthropocene (2020, Princeton University Press).
Jürgen Renn Panelist


Jean-Claude Burgelman Commenter
Jean-Claude Burgelman is professor of Open Science at the Free University of Brussels. He retired on 1-3-2020 from the European Commission as Open Access Envoy and head of unit Open Science at DG RTD. Since 2014, he and his team developed the EC’s polices on open science, the science cloud, open data and access. He joined the European Commission in 1999 as a Visiting Scientist in the Joint Research Centre (the Institute of Prospective Technological Studies – IPTS), where he became Head of the Information Society Unit. In January 2008, he moved to the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (attached to the EC president) as adviser for innovation policy.
Debora Drucker is a research data management specialist at Embrapa Digital Agriculture, one of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation Research Centers. She is one of the co-chairs of the Research Data Alliance IGAD Community of Practice (Improving Global Agricultural Data) and Professionalizing Data Stewardship Interest Group and an expert at the Data and Knowledge Task Force of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). She holds a degree in Forestry from University of São Paulo, Master in Ecology at the National Institute for Amazonian Research and Phd in Environment and Society from University of Campinas.
Debora Drucker Commenter
Sabina Leonelli Commenter
Sabina Leonelli serves as the Co-Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences (Egenis), where she leads the Data Studies research strand; theme lead for the “Data Governance, Openness and Ethics” strand of the Exeter Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (IDSAI); and Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute in London. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the international journal History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, together with Professor Giovanni Boniolo, and Associate Editor for the Harvard Data Science Review.
Sarah M. Nusser is professor emerita of statistics at Iowa State University and research professor at the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute. She previously served as vice president for research at Iowa State University and director of ISU’s Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology. Nusser is actively involved in US efforts to promote open science, transparency, and public access to research data. She serves as chair of the US National Academies Board on Research Data and Information, is senior fellow with the Association of American Universities on its Accelerating Public Access to Research Data initiative.
  • “Data Science” introduced as a 4th dimension, will increasingly dominate. What kind of risks and dangers are inherent in the approach, what kind of mechanisms need to be implemented to counter the risks, and how do we democratize access to data and advanced tools?
  • Is the assumption correct that the data space we are imagining is definitively a global one?
  • What kind of agreements will be necessary to enable a phase of cross-border (countries, organizations, companies) use which incorporates as a central concept the sustainability of life and which respects rights on resources and investments?
  • Is this transitional phase we are experiencing historically unique, or can we learn from history? If so, in what way can we draw conclusions about how the future data space should look like?
  • Who will be the owner of the Global Data Space and which authority decides on the rights and obligations of citizens with respect to the use of the Global data Space?

Reading Material

Here are a few references and pointers to reading material.
L. Floridi: 4th Revolution: How the Infosphere Is Reshaping Human Reality. Oxford University Press
L. Floridi: The Philosophy of Information. Oxford University Press
J. Renn: The Evolution of Knowledge: Rethinking Science for the Anthropocene. Princeton University

Panel Outcomes
View on key pillars of future data spaceCommenterCommenter presentationResponseVideo
INTRODUCTIONPeter WittenburgPresentationVideo
GENERALLuciano FloridiSabina LeonelliVideo
SCIENCEJürgen RennPresentationDebora DruckerVideo
TECHNICALBeth PlaleSarah NusserVideo
POLICYPaolo BudroniPresentationJean Claude BurgelmanVideo
CONCLUSIONGeorge StrawnVideo