Last year saw the first Open Call for RDA/EODC Domain Ambassadors, and we welcomed the first round of domain experts tasked with serving as conduits between the RDA, EOSC Future and the wider domain specific communities they belong to. The grants are supporting awareness-raising around the work and outputs of EOSC Future, whole also helping discipline experts grow their network and collaborate with like-minded people and organisations via the RDA.
The first five grantees, pictured below, cover a wide range of disciplines – Health and Law Ethics, Chemistry, Social Sciences and Librarianship and Information Services.
Late December saw the second RDA/EOSC Future Domain Ambassador launch, with an onboarding meeting taking place on the 15th of December. The nine new Domain Ambassadors, pictured below, widen the range of Domains which now includes Humanities, Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, Biodiversity, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as areas of Interdisciplinary Research.
During the December Domain Ambassador Meeting, we heard from Timea Biro, who coordinated the previous Ambassador programme under the RDA EU 4 project, which the current Domain Ambassadors programme is built on. Our current ambassadors have a critical task with an additional component: bridging their individual domains, RDA and EOSC.
You can also look into the previous RDA Europe Ambassador programme, if you missed it.
Next up, Fotis Psomopoulos provided an overview of his experience as an RDA EU Ambassador for Bioinformatics. While not new to RDA at the time of his appointment, Fotis tells us that this title helped him make a formal connection between the RDA community and ELIXIR, through the provision of drive and resources. The former Ambassador goes on to provide examples of concrete results obtained during his tenure.
First of all, Fotis talks about the benefits resulting from a set of events and webinars, which allowed him to showcase the RDA value and activities to the ELIXIR community and vice versa, and to also incorporate life sciences challenges within RDA. The bridging between the two communities happened through the ELIXIR Bridging Force IG. The result was a community between the two efforts which carried on with independent activities.
Next, Fotis relates his experience with the engagement aspect of the training and ensuring efforts and open science principles are widely known. This initiative was supported by RDA, ELIXIR and CODATA through the CODATA Summer Schools, and not only did it add value to the global community, but it also brought insights back into RDA and ELIXIR. This joint blog by RDA and ELIXIR outlining how challenges in Bioinformatics can be addressed through such efforts.
The former Ambassador describes how the support he received through RDA EU team (with Timea’s work deserving of a special mention) was crucial to his activities and success. According to Fotis, the role of the ambassador is a continuation of the person’s existing efforts, and this is not limited to the duration of the formal programme.
First up is Sara El-Gebali, a cross-domain Ambassador. Sara is running a series of AMA events, ‘FAIRPoints’ in alignment with RDA’s 10-year anniversary, also running a series of podcasts. The topics of the AMA sessions are FAIR Implementation, PIDs, Machine Actionability, Governance and FAIR Metrics. How to understand better how to make digital objects FAIRer in the EOSC context and making FAIR a reality.
We then heard from Stephanie Jurbyurg, Ambassador for Microbial Ecology, who is interested in understanding inequalities in how data gets reused once deposited. The programme is developing training and educational materials to facilitate the depositing of data, allowing people to unionise and present their data as large databases to ensure it is more citeable and finable, and to encourage people to reiuse their data locally and make it available to their own communities. For example, Stephanie references work on a GitHub wiki currently in spanish and English, which serves as a step by step detailed instructin manual on how to deposit sequence data. There is currently an FAQ section in progress aiming to assist non-experts in depositing data.
MICODA is the largest microbial database in the world – the link to this resource will be available soon.
After Stephanie’s presentation we heard from Allyson Lister, Ambassador for Standards, repositories and policies. Allyson will work on formalising and utilise the Community Curation Programme, which gathers volunters from across disciplines. This pool of expertise within the RDA and EOSC will build a network of community curators who will “champion” their domain of interest.
Next in the line-up is Marek Cebeauer, Ambassador for Material Sciences and Engineering (MSE), who informs us that one of his tasks will be to raise awareness of RDA at a national level in his local Czech Republic. Marek is working on creating a website which will act as a single access point for available information on RMD tools developed for the MSE community in a simplistic way. Marek also plans on sharing such information via scientific journals. At the moment Marek’s work will be hosted in his personal websiite, with plans for a future transfer to RDA or EOSC sites. As chair of working group for material sciences and engineering in the Czeck Republic, Marel aso aims to bridge national work with international initiatives. Adding on Marek’s presentation, Timea Biro noted Groups in RDA working on MSE.
Moving on to Helene Andreassen, the Ambassador for Linguistics, who is also a Co-Chair of the RDA Linguistics Data Interest Group (IG). Helene points out the variety of types of data in her domain, which all have different data management needs. Moreover, the Ambassador notes the challenges in transparency and reproducibility of research in Linguistics, with a need for education at a student and researcher level, possibly including the development of tools for data management. A third challenge that the Ambassador addresses is advocating for the importance of FAIR principles and data management in general in the domain. In response to these challenges, the Ambassador in collaboration with the RDA Linguistics Data IG will develop a Needs Analysis survey, investigating the educational efforts needed to train linguists in integrating open science. Helene also plans on promoting more widely existing outputs of the RDA Linguistics Data IG. Finally, a webinar on FAIR data in linguistic hosting domain experts is in the works, with plans for it to be developed into a vlog. Finally, the Ambassador points out that as EOSC is less well-known in her institution, she plans on ensuring relevant efforts are sufficiently promoted. Before Helene wrapped up her presentation, Ari Asmi, Director of the Research Data Alliance Association AISBL, pointed out some helpful resources relating to the Ambassador’s mission to address valorisation of data in linguistics:
Next up is Jonas Koefoed Roemer, Ambassador of Arctic Data Community, Ecosystems and Climate Change. Jonas talked about the current challenge in his domain, which involves the wide range of nations and disciplines in monitoring and research in the arctic. Therefore, the data landscape is very fragmented, also due to the varying levels of skill and interest with regards to data management in the field. In his role as an RDA/EOSC Future Ambassador, Jonas plans on strengthening FAIR data management practices in the arctic data community, drawing both from EOSC and RDA resources and expertise. Jonas hopes to create an RDA Adoption Story based on a case study of an actic data repository that he has been working on.
Francis Crawley, the Ambassador for Ethics and Law talked about the complexities of both Ethics and Law as Disciplines, but also about how these two cross-cut across many other domains. Francis has been a member of the Research Data Alliance’s COVID-19 Legal and Ethics Working Group and the RDA COVID-19 Community Participation Working Group. He recently launched and chairs the Artificial Intelligence and Data Visitation Working Group (RDA AIDV-WG). Francis is pointing out that for Ethics, Law, Human Rights etc, open science is really complicated, and having access to EOSC and RDA resources and knowledge is hugely beneficial. As the RDA / EOSC Future Ambassador for Ethics & Law, his goal is advancing the understanding of the European Open Science Cloud Future Project with scientists and research institutions, as well as with patients, communities, health advocates, and the public, providing important emphasis on those instances otherwise underrepresented in initiatives for Open Science. The ambassadorship includes outreach to public and private institutions that are engaged with processing research data, and eventually finding repositories for that data, publishing the data and the finding from the data, and/or sharing or re-using data.
The next RDA/EOSC Future Ambassador to present their plan is Lina Sitz, Ambassador for Earth System Physics/Data management. Lina starts her presentation but letting us know that as a Physicist, she is acutely aware of the importance of data quality and availability, due to the vast quantities of data physicists work with. While there are a lot of data management tools available, Lina notes that this is not necessarily beneficial in her field, as it leads to researchers feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, good open science practice is not part of formal education. As part of her Ambassadorship, Lina will take this opportunity to describe the application of the FAIR principles in the AR6 WGI IPCC context, the challenges faced during its implementation, and those that remain for the future. The IPCC report includes contributions from 234 scientists from 66 countries, assessing more than 14,000 scientific documents. The formal output type is yet to be determined – stay tuned for more information.
Last but not least, Isabelle Perseil (who will be known to the RDA community as a TAB member, among other things) is the new RDA/EOSC Future Ambassador for Scientific computing for Life science. Isabelle talked about the main domain challenges: due to the very large datasets produced to enable AI techniques, there are some specific additional issues to resolve, such as architecture, specialised data management, configuration, performance, availability, maintenance, storage and backup. Isabelle will focus on addressing the above challenges in health data, and in particular cancer disease. As an Ambassador, Isabelle aims to provide a spare for better sharing of personalised medical data by building a dedicated Network, selecting specific issues and topics to be addressed by RDA and EOSC, and also by creating a new Community of Practice within RDA.
We would like to thank the new round of grantees – we look forward to finding out more about their work and contributions to the EOSC Future and RDA.