One of the most significant and recurring themes that emerged from the various sessions of the GEO Open Data Open Knowledge workshop was the crucial need for comprehensive training, capacity development, and education, along with the availability of diverse resources to facilitate effective learning. A key observation during the workshop was that having an engaged audience eager to learn is a valuable asset in itself. Equally important, however, is the presence of a community of experts who are willing to share their knowledge generously. This creates a collaborative environment that fosters growth and progress.

Nonetheless, a central challenge remains: defining what exactly needs to be taught and how best to deliver this knowledge.

In the domain of Earth Observations, several factors compound this challenge. The emergence of new types of data, the exponential growth in data volumes, the necessity for advanced technologies to process and extract value from these vast datasets, and the increasing numbers of incentives for conducting scientific research, all contribute to an increased demand for learning resources. Furthermore, the effects of globalization and the acceleration of the challenges faced in this field shorten the timeframe for adopting innovative solutions and new capabilities.

As fate would have it, the GEO Dialogue 2023 Series following the ODOK workshop focused on the topics of Open Education and Open Evaluation. As for each of these dialogues, we began with a theoretical presentation of the topic, invited selected experts to present some of their experiences and related lessons learned, and engaged in a discussion on the subject. Considering the importance of the topic, we thought that it would be worth summarizing some of the key content for further discussion.

The GEO Open Knowledge Statement introduces Open Education practice as: “Teaching materials should be released under an open license (Creative Commons), allowing reuse and modification by others and in accordance with the FAIR and TRUST Principles. Open Education also involves teaching Open Science principles and using openly accessible materials (for example, data and software) as much as possible” and Open Evaluation practice as: “Scholarly articles should be evaluated in an Open Peer Review process resulting at least in publicly available reviews. To foster the transition to a new recognition and reward system, a researcher’s reputation and output should be evaluated according to the Open Science principles, i.e., by focusing primarily on the content (see DORA) rather than the journal’s impact factor and the h-index. “

Karl Benedict, from ESIP, introduced the lessons learned from the ESIP Data Management Training Clearinghouse initiative to manage the availability, usability, quality, curation, and preservation of the knowledge it delivers since 10 years now. Recently, a lot of efforts were made on the metadata model to improve the discoverability of the increasing collection of materials but also to increase the capacities of the system, diversify the content, and add a capability for users to share feedback. The methodology to manage the resources also evolved to be able to extend the content to new types of materials and target new types of audiences. The end of life of Drupal 7 has pushed the team to migrate the system to a new system developed in-house based on open source and Python and other well-known software. An interesting API could be integrated by other Education platforms to extend their search for resources between platforms.

Based on her extensive academic career, Helen Glaves gave a very interesting talk on the scientific research evaluation process and the need for it to evolve to allow researchers to receive credit for their outputs beyond the traditional peer review process. She also recommends opening up this historically closed process, adding practical, ethical, and social considerations that will give transparency and added value to the peer review process for authors, reviewers, and those using these resources. Having an open peer review process where reviewers are not anonymous reduces the potential for biased review, opens up the process for others to provide constructive feedback, and allows wider validation of the research. As co-chair for the GEO In situ subgroup, Helen also highlighted the pivotal role of good quality in situ datasets both to validate satellite-based Earth observation data and provide the essential input for validating, calibrating, and training new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence. Open evaluation fosters Open Science and increases trust, which is key for offering a prestigious knowledge platform where high-profile scientists will be willing to contribute.

Nils Hempelmann introduced the Location Innovation Academy delivered by the European Project GEOE3.

This academy, based on Moodle, is a collaborative effort from a consortium of 12 partners. The accessibility, interoperability, and integration of cross-border geospatial data and services have been accelerated in the GeoE3 project over the past two years. The knowledge and ideas from this project are now available in three knowledge clusters: Data Management, Service Management, and Data and Service Management. The platform includes a feedback process complementing web analytics as means for open evaluation. The platforms provide templates and glossaries to feed new content in a homogeneous way. Nils informs that most European projects now consider offering online academies as a means to share knowledge and lessons learned, and this is the case for several projects in which OGC is involved, such as DIS4SME aiming at providing SMEs with the right skills on data interoperability, USAGE, CLINT, ILIAD, ACCORD, CHEK or AD4GD. More globally, OGC is developing an online OGC academy to deliver knowledge related to all its initiatives and activities such as European projects but also global OGC initiatives, OGC Standards, and Reusable Architectures based on standards.

We are observing an increasing number of academies with specific purposes that should connect into a network of resources.

Last but not least, Karen Word introduced the Carpentries and their long-lasting experience. : The carpentries is a non-for-profit project dedicated to building global capacity and essential data and computational skills that support efficient open and reproducible research. The Carpentries have a well-proved process: since 2,012, the Carpentries has certified over 4,000 instructors who have taught workshops in 65 countries in different languages. These efforts are supported by over a hundred member organizations around the world. The trainings have some characteristics and features: they involve participatory live coding or demonstration of the tools that are being taught. Instructors go slowly explaining, as they demonstrate learners actively code or execute tasks along with the instructor. Carpentry's workshops, feature helpers and co-instructors. The helpers support learners as the instructional team shares the load. Interactive feedback is facilitated and completed by pre and post-surveys. They have a code of conduct and a peer review process linked to the lessons on GitHub. Recently they successfully cooperated with NASA to reuse their training experience on a curriculum provided by NASA directly.

Discussion topics

● Heading towards an academy network: The presentations showcased enduring, recent, and promising educational platforms. While the notion of a universal academy akin to the Great Library of Alexandria remains a utopian ideal, the current trend is leading us towards a diverse landscape of online academies, each with distinct governance, focus, and target audiences. Given the challenges and expenses involved in developing high-quality educational materials, the question arises: can we aspire to establish connections and collaborations between these fragmented academies?

● Developing innovative evaluation processes: As previously mentioned, the time gap between the introduction of new data or technologies and the demand for training is shrinking. While there is a strong desire to disseminate knowledge rapidly, it is essential not to compromise the quality and usability of the content in this pursuit.

● Open contributions to materials or reviews: all the presentations included an invitation to contribute to the process by providing content or reviews. If we want to keep a high level of quality, trust, and engagement, the contributions should be non-anonymous, and openly reviewed, and contributors should be credited. So a transparent and rigorous process should be defined.

● In-Person Training: the digital Investing in training of trainers like the Carpentries

● Language: Learning, by definition, requires going out of one’s comfort zone. The skills required in the field of Earth Observations can be quite complex, and innovative, and due to the global acceleration, individuals can swiftly find themselves nominated as experts or trainers as soon as they acquire new competencies. All these factors can increase the benefits of training or resources in several languages. This is and will stay an endless challenge, however, it is crucial to regularly reassess this issue, considering a delicate balance among several factors. Firstly, the stability of the materials over time must be taken into account, ensuring that the content remains relevant and reliable despite evolving advancements. Secondly, assessing the impact of multilingual resources is vital, understanding how it can broaden access to knowledge and expertise across diverse linguistic communities. Fortunately, over the last few years, significant progress has been made in the development of translation tools, opening up new possibilities for overcoming language barriers. Embracing these advanced translation technologies can further enhance the reach and effectiveness of educational materials, making learning more inclusive and accessible to a broader global audience.

The GEO Dialogue series 2023: Towards a GEO coordinated implementation of Open Knowledge

For the second year, the Data Working Group of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) 🌍 organizes a series of Dialogues to raise awareness on topics critical to implement the GEO vision “To realize a future where decisions and actions, for the benefit of humankind, are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observation information and services.”

The driving topic for this 2023 series is to review the different practices with respect to the generation, dissemination, and uptake of Open Knowledge promoted by the GEO Open Knowledge Statement, available at Group on Earth Observation website . The objective of the Dialogues is to Engage, Advocate, and Deliver to share a baseline of understanding through the GEO community and beyond about how Open knowledge can be implemented in GEO. It is also to engage with other connected communities implementing all or part of the different practices fostering Open Knowledge and looking for synergies.

The list of all Dialogues, running from April to October 2023, is available at Group on Earth Observation website

Dialogue Speakers mini Bios

Karl Benedict

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Dr. Karl Benedict has worked since 1986 in parallel tracks of information management, geospatial information technology and archaeology. Within the College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences at the University of New Mexico (UNM) he serves as a Professor, as the Director of the Research Data Services (RDS) and Information Technology Services (ITS) programs, and as subject area expert for geospatial data and technologies. His previous experience includes fifteen years at UNM's Earth Data Analysis Center (including five years as the EDAC Director), service in multiple leadership positions (including two terms as President) in the Earth Science Information Partners, and work for the US Forest Service, National Park Service, and in the private sector conducting archaeological research, developing geospatial databases, performing geospatial and statistical analyses, and developing web-based information delivery applications. In these positions, he has developed and managed the development of information technology and data management capacity in support of multiple research and application domains including public health, resource management, hydro-climate research, atmospheric modeling, disaster planning and mitigation, and renewable energy research. Dr. Benedict has translated this experience into both credit courses and workshops that are focused on skill building in data management and analysis and online application development, and his current work as a Carpentries instructor and instructor trainer.

Helen Glaves

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Helen Glaves is a Senior Data Scientist at the British Geological Survey (BGS), with more than 30 years’ experience in marine geoscience and geoinformatics. Her current role focuses on the development and implementation of research infrastructures, which includes acting as Strategic Director of the Integrated Core Services (ICS-C) for the European Plate Observing System (EPOS).

She is also actively involved in a number of national and international initiatives addressing various aspects of open science, including as a member of several interest/working groups within the Research Data Alliance (RDA), and co-chair of the In-situ Data subgroup of GEO.

Helen is currently Vice President of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) having previously served as President from 2021 to 2023.

Karen Word

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Dr. Karen Word is the Director of Instructor Training for The Carpentries, a global nonprofit with a mission to build global capacity in essential data and computational skills for conducting efficient, open, and reproducible research. She holds a PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology from UC Davis as well as a Masters and Teaching certification from Portland State University. As a postdoc, she led assessment for the Data Intensive Biology Summer Institute (DIBSI) at UC Davis. She has enjoyed teaching in a full spectrum of settings, from summer camps and science museums to middle and high school to community college and university courses and workshops.

Nils Hempelmann

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Dr. Nils Hempelmann is responsible for planning and managing OGC Collaborative Solutions and Innovation Program initiatives.

Mr. Hempelmann holds a PhD in Geography and provides a combination of an extensive scientific background in climate change data assessment and sustainable development as well as software engineering for scientific data processing and information delivery. Furthermore he gained deep insights of the United Nations policy mechanisms e.g. as a member of the German UNCCD delegation as well as a UNFCCC observer.

He contributes to OGC with his almost 20 years of research, scientific software development and climate service consultation experiences from international project contributions in research environments as well as consultation of international cooperation organisations.

Bente Lijla Bye

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Bente has been a member of the GEO community since 2004 then as Research Director of the Norwegian Mapping Authority. She has been engaged both as representative in the GEO plenary, in committees and contributing to the GEO Work Programme. She has served on the GEO Program Board representing Norway bringing her expertise on the polar regions. Today, Bente runs a small research and consultancy company, BLB, focusing on transforming Earth observation data to information and knowledge for societal benefit. Bente supports the NextGEOSS data hub and platform operations particularly through capacity development and resource mobilization. She is also a member of the GEO Data Working group, co-chairing GEO NextEOS community activity and she uses her experience on gendered innovation in the GEO Gender, Equality, Inclusion subgroup of the GEO Program Board. Bente characterizes herself as a nature loving gadget geek and is frequently seen on various expeditions on land or ocean.

Dialogue Recording and Presentations

The recording of the Dialogue is Openly accessible on the GEO Knowledge Hub

Blog post authors

Marie-Francoise Voidrot (OGC); Helen Glaves (BGS); Bente Lijla Bye (BLB)

Dialogue and Blog Credits

The Dialogue series is developed and implemented by the GEO Data Working Group and co-funded by the European Environment Agency -EEA- via the InCASE Project