A typical problem

Mr. Farid is a small and medium business owner in Malaysia, and he has a big dream to improve his product through research and innovation.

He has set up a research team, but the team lacks the data to start a study.

He and his team would like to establish a rapid investigation that could eventually lead to fruitful collaboration with relevant research institutes in Malaysia. However, he and his team encounter difficulties in pursuing the plan.

Mr. Farid’s experience is not new to us and is typical of SME owners. Have you ever imagined that Malaysia would have a platform that facilitates searching and cataloging research data?

Can research data produced by publicly funded projects be made publicly available to maximize their impact?

Is search data really like oil – valuable and brings wealth to the owner, but disappears as soon as it is consumed? Or maybe it’s like rich soil that has great potential to bring life?

Read on to find out more.

Open Science

In recent years, many international organizations defend and promote the principles of open science. Open Science emphasizes making scientific research accessible to all levels of the general public.

Regardless of location, religion, nationality, race, age, gender and income, everyone should have free access to open scientific knowledge.

The principles of Open Science are now slowly being adopted in many research communities around the world.

The principles and policies of open science are undoubtedly facilitating the flow of data and discoveries during the recent global health emergency (i.e. the COVID-19 pandemic), and therefore accelerating research to combat against the threat.

Taking the example of Malaysia, the open data initiatives launched by the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 vaccination task force are good examples.

Relevant COVID-19 data is shared on the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MoH) Github platform (https://github.com/MoH-Malaysia) and COVIDNOW website (https://covidnow.moh .gov.my), and soon in the NIH-Data Repository System (NIH-DaRS-https://nihdars.nih.gov.my/).

These initiatives allow public health researchers and policy makers to strategically design disease control plans and policies.

Malaysia Open Science Platform (MOSP)

Recognizing the importance of open science, the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) participated as the Malaysia Open Science Platform (MOSP) alliance, a pilot initiative of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Education. ‘Innovation (MOSTI) which was 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 accessibility and sharing of research data aligned with national priorities and international best practices.

The MOSP Alliance, which is formed by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM), has been tasked to spearhead this initiative which can strengthen the collaborative STI ecosystem for Malaysia.

The MOSP Alliance is supported by three working groups: one to review relevant policies and produce a national guideline on open science, while the other two focus on the capacity building program to produce the necessary talent , and to be the architect of the underlying infrastructure, respectively.

With regard to the MOSP pilot initiative, it is expected that the platform will play a role in establishing a national catalog of various data sources stored in different repositories hosted by five research universities (i.e. i.e. Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia) and research institutes under various ministries including the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), MOSTI, MoH and MoHE .

The platform will then be made accessible to the public at all levels such as researchers, academics, students, industry and government.

Back to the problem encountered by Mr Farid and his team. With this platform, they can now easily find search data and results through a dedicated platform, just like using a search engine like Google.

Once they have found the data they are interested in, scientific communication can then be organized with the respective host, which could lead to collaboration between universities and industries.

The MOSP has great potential – the sky is 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 flooding incident, as well as other issues in Malaysia.

The initiative not only democratizes scientific research knowledge, it also promotes data-intensive research, ensures high research integrity, and encourages open innovation and citizen science.

Authors:

Dr Liew Chee Sun

Data Intensive Computing Center, Universiti Malaya

Head of Infrastructure Working Group, Malaysia Open Science Platform

Associate Professor Dr. Wong Li Pei

School of Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Member of the Infrastructure Working Group, Malaysia Open Science Platform

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