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Open Science objectives and dissemination of Open Data

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In line with the EU's open science policy and Belgian open data protocols, BIRA-IASB’s IT department has developed a visualisation toolbox improving accessibility of the data products of our institute. The toolbox is used in prototype data portals of Belgian contributions to EU research infrastructures. In addition, BIRA-IASB has furthermore developed an Application Programming Interface based on the OpenAPI Specification, which is the basis of data distribution programmes funded by the EU. The API enables unambiguous distribution of data, emphasizing machine-to-machine distribution.
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Open Science

BIRA-IASB is strongly committed to Open Science developments and strives to make scientific publications available through Open Access. Efforts to increase transparency of our research are clearly visible in the growing numbers of publications published in Open Access. BIRA-IASB also considers Open Science an important European and national development.

The IT department contributes to this endeavor and has developed a visualization toolbox to improve access to research data produced by our institute. The toolbox is currently used in the prototype data portals of Belgian contributions to two EU research infrastructures, ACTRIS and ICOS. The visualization builds upon an open-source python implementation of OPeNDAP and the default OPeNDAP functionality was extended to optimize its use for web applications.

The advantages of the OPeNDAP implementation are fully exploited: measurement data products are stored in their native format (netCDF) avoiding data duplication and it provides fast access to subsets of the data files.

Open Data

End of 2022 BIRA-IASB’s IT department started the development of an Application Programming Interface (API) based on the OpenAPI Specification. Data distribution programmes funded by the EU such as INSPIRE are based on this API. The software enables unambiguous distribution of data in different formats and with different structures to interested users, with an emphasis on machine-to-machine distribution.

This enables automated access to the data, supporting the Open Science developments. To achieve this, the indexing mechanisms, that were already developed for human-to-machine interfaces (, were linked to the OpenAPI specification to bypass the demand for separate code bases to send the same data. An early version of the API is expected to be ready to test by the end of 2023, including an authentication/authorization model.

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Data-driven Visualizer for NetCDF files
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BIRA-IASB’s engagement in Open Science is reflected in the increasing number of OA peer-reviewed publications, reaching 81% in 2022.
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