We have developed a pioneering web portal, Data Stewardship Wizard, which helps researchers and data stewards work more efficiently with growing amounts of data. Its creation is a result of collaboration between Czech and Dutch institutions aimed at finding a solution to one of the most pressing problems we are facing and will be facing in the future – i.e. big data.
In today’s society, data is very important, mainly thanks to the spread of smartphones and the Internet of Things (IoT). Each year, IoT, bioinformatics, astroinformatics and other fields generate petabytes of data. In general, the current rise in the amount of generated data can be attributed to the spread of computing to all areas of human life and scientific fields.
“The problem is that big data cannot be just thrown away as for instance in the case of medicine we risk throwing away data that can help us cure currently incurable diseases. A lot of data is also unique and cannot be generated again once it’s lost,” explains doc. Ing. Robert Pergl, Ph.D., head of the Centre for Conceptual Modelling and Implementation (CCMi), where the project is being implemented.
Therefore, data has to be administered, taken care of and made available. This creates challenges in terms of technology, organization, policies and ethics (data confidentiality, licences, etc.).
This has led to the creation of a new profession – so-called data stewards, who have the required education and experience for planning and correct and efficient handling of big, valuable and sensitive data. In the following years, hundreds of thousands of data stewards will be trained around the world. ELIXIR, an international infrastructure for life-science data, is developing efficient solutions. ELIXIR Netherlands and ELIXIR Czech Republic – namely FIT CTU and the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences – have together developed Data Stewardship Wizard, a unique web portal the aim of which is to help data stewards with their hard job in line with the motto “from burden to benefit”.
Typically, researchers are not experts in data stewardship, but they have to deal with these tasks. Data Stewardship Wizard can guide researchers towards appropriate data stewardship, while at the same time being an efficient tool and a teaching material for data stewards. The institutions involved in ELIXIR and the GO FAIR initiative use Data Stewardship Wizard to train data stewards. This tool will help data scientists and stewards with efficient project planning.