A typical problem
Mr. Farid is a small and medium business owner in Malaysia with a big dream to improve his product through research and innovation.
He’s put together a research team, but the team lacks data to start a study.
He and his team want to create a quick survey that could eventually lead to a successful collaboration with relevant research institutes in Malaysia. However, he and his team are having difficulties implementing the plan.
Mr. Farid’s experience is not new to us and is typical for SME owners. Did you ever imagine that Malaysia would have a platform that would make it easier to search and catalog research data?
Can the research data of publicly funded projects be made available to the public to maximize their impact?
Is research data really like oil – precious and bringing wealth to the owner, but disappearing the moment it is consumed? Or is it maybe like fertile ground that has great potential to bring life?
Read on to find out more.
In recent years, many international organizations have advocated and promoted Open Science principles. Open Science places value on making scientific research accessible to the public at all levels.
Regardless of location, religion, nationality, race, age, gender and income, everyone should have unimpeded access to open scientific knowledge.
Open Science principles are now slowly being adopted in many research communities around the world.
Open Science principles and policies undoubtedly facilitate the flow of data and insights during the recent global health crisis (i.e., the COVID-19 pandemic), thus accelerating research to combat the threat.
Taking Malaysia as an example, the open data initiatives of the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 Immunization Task Force are good examples.
Relevant COVID-19 data will be available on the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MoH) Github platform (https://github.com/MoH-Malaysia) and COVIDNOW website (https://covidnow.moh.gov.my) and will soon release the NIH Data Repository System (NIH-DaRS-https://nihdars.nih.gov.my/).
These initiatives enable public health researchers and policy makers to strategically design disease control plans and policies.
Malaysia Open Science Platform (MOSP)
Aware of the importance of open science, the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) has joined as an alliance the Malaysia Open Science Platform (MOSP), a pilot initiative of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) launched on November 7, 2019 .
The goal of this initiative is to make Malaysia’s research data a valuable national asset by developing a trusted platform that enables access and exchange of research data aligned with national priorities and international best practices.
The MOSP Alliance established by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) has been given the responsibility to lead this initiative which can strengthen the STI Collaborative Ecosystem for Malaysia.
The MOSP Alliance is supported by three working groups: one is addressing the relevant policies and creating a national open science policy, while the other two focus on the capacity building program to bring out the required talent and as an architect the underlying infrastructure
As for the MOSP pilot initiative, it is envisaged that the platform will play a role in creating a national catalog of different data sources stored in different repositories maintained by five research universities (i.e. Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia) and research institutes from various ministries including the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO), MOSTI, MoH and MoHE.
The platform is then made available to the public at all levels such as researchers, academics, students, industry and government.
Back to the problem Mr. Farid and his team are facing. With this platform, they can now conveniently search for research data and output it through their own platform as if they were using a search engine like Google.
Once they have found the data of interest, scientific communication can then be arranged with the respective host, which could lead to university-industry collaboration.
The MOSP has great potential – the sky’s the limit. By making research data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR), the platform has the potential to facilitate research related to addressing the recent flood event as well as other issues in Malaysia.
The initiative not only democratizes research findings, it also promotes data-intensive research, ensures a high level of research integrity and promotes open innovation and citizen science.
dr Liew Chee Sun
Data intensive data center, Universiti Malaya
Head of Infrastructure Working Group, Malaysia Open Science Platform
Associate Professor Dr. Wong Li Pei
Faculty of Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Member of Infrastructure Working Group, Malaysia Open Science Platform