Table of Contents

  • This study is mapping the most significant challenges and obstacles for a reinforced Nordic cooperation on data resources. Focus is put on existing national databases and registers established mainly for administrative purposes but also the question of newly-generated scientific data is handled. The challenges are analysed from political, legal, ethical, organisational, technical and financial perspectives. The broad scope targets primarily policy makers involved in eScience development on national and/or Nordic level. Involved parties in the study are Nordic Council of Ministers, NordForsk, Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and CSC – IT Center for Science.

  • In 2006, the Nordic Council of Ministers formed an adhoc eScience Work Group assigned to propose a joint Nordic eScience strategy. The Work Group delivered the strategy in July 2007, emphasising the need for longterm, sustainable collaborations within Nordic eScience infrastructures and proposing new Nordic eScience programmes within research, infrastructure and education. This initiative was taken further by the research councils of Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Norway under Nord-Forsk’s NORIA-net instrument, forming The Nordic eScience Initiative (eNORIA). In the course of their work, the participants of eNORIA were asked by the Nordic Ministers for Education and Research to propose an action plan to realise the Nordic eScience strategy. The action plan, consisting of 10 concrete action points was elaborated in 2008.

  • The Nordic eScience strategy – the strategy for the Nordic Council of Ministers from 2007 states the importance for cutting edge research of establishing a Nordic infrastructure for databases and data repositories, due to the Nordic unique registers and databasess.

  • The study is mapping the most significant challenges and obstacles for a reinforced Nordic cooperation regarding data resources, in particular

  • Collaboration regarding data resources origins from the basic idea that the value of information increases when it is shared. There is a massive amount of information stored in databases and registers owned by public authorities in the Nordic countries. These databases have been built up mainly for monitoring and administrative purposes but can be used for research purposes to a much greater extent than today. Population-based registers are very important examples since they are so unique for the Nordic countries. But there are many other variants of databases owned by public authorities, which do not contain so sensitive information as population-based registers, for instance data on climate and environment.

  • The following chapter describes some of the main progress in sharing data resources useful for research and developing register-based research in all the five Nordic countries. It is not a comprehensive description but an overview of some of the main developments in the field. The general key players from a policy perspective on the national level regarding particularly databases and register-based research are summarised in the table on the following page.

  • The European Strategy Forum, ESFRI is the member states platform for planning and coordination of joint European infrastructure. ESFRIs “European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures” sets the course for joint European Infrastructure within a range of science fields. The latest Roadmap was produced in May 2011 and most countries (including the Nordic countires as shown in the previous chapter) have produced their own national Research Infrastructure Roadmaps in parallel to the ESFRI Roadmap.