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Data Prize Competition

Inaugural WDS-ITO Data Prize

Participant Terms of Reference

Contest Description

The World Data System is an interdisciplinary body of the International Science Council promoting universal and equitable access to quality-assured scientific data and associated services. With generous support from Canada’s New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO), the World Data System International Technology Office (WDS-ITO) is running a competition to highlight the use of WDS Regular and Network member data in Virtual Research Environments. 2 cash prizes of CAD$1,000 each will be awarded. In addition to the prize, we will recognize the winners in early spring 2022 and highlight their achievements on the WDS website. 

We want to know more about how researchers, students, developers, and data scientists facilitate the pipeline of data between repositories and analytics engines, and we’re inviting you to show us your solutions. The purpose of the award is to incentivize and document innovative use, analysis, or visualization of WDS member data in Virtual Research Environments. 

Virtual Research Environments (VRE), also called science gateways (SG) or virtual labs (VL), are platforms that promote innovation and collaboration within a scientific community. Examples of VREs include well-established community platforms like XSEDE, iReceptor, and GenAp. For the purposes of this prize, we also consider computational notebooks to be a type of lightweight VRE, such as Jupyter Notebooks or RStudio. The Science Gateway Community Institute provides a large catalog of VREs, though this is not a comprehensive list. 

Judging Criteria

  • Value added to the scientific community: Does it contribute to a known research issue or societal ill? Does it help inform decision makers?
  • Innovation in approach and style: Does the submission introduce novel ways of approaching a problem? 
  • Reusability of end product: Can the submission be used by other members of the research community? How broad are the circumstances by which the submission can be reused?
  • Usability and removing barriers to entry: Is the solution user-friendly? Does the documentation accurately describe the workflow, is it readable and actionable? How complex is the technical background required to implement the solution?

Important Dates

Data Prize Opens: August 25, 2021
Data Prize Closes: December 1, 2021
Award Announcement: February 2022


The submission form is available for download here. Please email your submissions to Soulaine Theocharides (ito-ra3@oceannetworks.ca) with the subject line “WDS-ITO Data Prize Submission”.


The competition is open to all participants globally, excluding residents of Quebec. We’re inviting anyone in the research data community to participate: students, researchers, data managers, developers, and anything in between. The prize will be awarded in the winner’s local currency. 

The World Data System (WDS) is a multidisciplinary branch of the International Science Council (ISC). The WDS seeks to promote the long-term stewardship of, and universal and equitable access to, quality-assured scientific data and associated services, products, and information across all disciplines in the Natural and Social Sciences, and the Humanities. More information on the WDS available here.

WDS Members consist of organizations that have a role in collecting, analyzing, compiling, distributing, archiving, and networking data supporting the scientific community. There are four classes of membership, of which two are relevant to this competition. Regular members are organizations that are data stewards and/or data analysis services, and network members are umbrella bodies representing groups of data stewardship organizations and/or data analysis services and usually serve as coordinating agents for nodes that have common characteristics/disciplines. Data from either of these member classes are acceptable to be used in a submission to the Data Prize. 

Please only submit one project. We’re looking for your best work!

The competition is open to individuals and teams, but team submissions must be submitted under a single person who will be awarded the prize