While Virtual Plenaries enable many people to participate in Plenaries who might not be able to travel to a physical Plenary, time zones may make it difficult for some attendees to join sessions of interest while juggling their other responsibilities, especially in times of COVID-19. This, together with the wish to continue some of the discussions held at the Virtual Plenary in a more regional context, gave rise to the idea of holding a Virtual Regional Event for the Asia and Oceania region following a Virtual Plenary. This idea was first voiced by Jens Klump in 2020, and the Research Data Alliance (RDA) in conjunction with the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) ran a first such Virtual Regional Event after Plenary 16 in November 2020. While this event was reasonably successful, we felt that there was room for improvement, especially in disseminating information about the event more widely.
For the second Virtual Regional Event in mid-May 2021, we picked up some of the topics addressed at the RDA Virtual Plenary 17 (Edinburgh, 20-23 April 2021) to discuss them further in a more regional context for Asia and Oceania through four virtual sessions. Two of the sessions were run in conjunction with other events, which helped with their promotion. We also had help from the ARDC and RDA communications teams in promoting the event via the ARDC and RDA newsletters and social media and targeted emails to RDA members in Asia and Oceania. The ARDC communications team also created graphics and helped us with the logistics for the sessions.
1. A National Approach to Research Software, 11 May 2021
Session coordinator: Tom Honeyman
The first session, “A National Approach to Research Software”, was run in conjunction with Data Science Week. The session included a brief update on research software-related activities in the Research Data Alliance, followed by a consultation session feeding into the ARDC’s preparation of a national agenda for research software, to address the challenge of recognition of research software as a first class output of research. Over 50 participants from Australia, Asia and Oceania joined the session and provided input into the consultation process.
The slides and recording from the brief update on research software related activities at the Research Data Alliance Virtual Plenary 17 are now available. This part featured brief reports of the following sessions at the Virtual Plenary:
BoF Canonical Workflow Frameworks for Research (CWFR) - VP17 session page
BoF Defining FAIR for Machine Learning (ML) - VP17 session page
If you are interested in the work on the national agenda for research software in Australia, a draft form of the agenda is now available at: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4940274. A finalised form of the agenda will capture a measure of interest and priorities for the sector, and so if this agenda is of interest to you, your feedback would be most appreciated. If you're interested in discussing any aspect of the agenda, please get in contact.
2. Infrastructure and Data Management Plans (DMPs), 18 May 2021
Co-hosted locally with the (Australasian) DMP Interest Group, this session attracted 90 participants from the region, and more besides with the promise of a recorded webinar. Peter Neish shared an update on the DMP Common Standards WG, which reported on Maintenance and Adoptions of the Common Standard for Machine-actionable DMPs during VP17. Rowland Mosbergen (WEHI) championed a practical focus on the researcher experience, and the need for research data infrastructure to solve RDM problems through integrated systems. Andrew Brazzatti demonstrated (local) QCIF’s ReDBox infrastructure product, which connects enterprise systems across infrastructure planning, data storage provision and data publishing and archiving workflows. John Chodacki, stepping in for Maria Praezellis from the California Digital Library (CDL) talked about networked DMPs and the FAIR Island Project, introducing CDL’s persistent identifier for DMPs. Rounding out the panel, Peter Sefton (independent consultant) asked what do we really want from DMPs, and shared work in progress with Marco La Rosa. Peter outlined an ideal ecosystem where DMPs, provisioned research workspaces and repository infrastructure all contribute to the exchange of reusable, interoperable data objects.
The slides and recording of this VP17 Regional Event session can be found here: http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4817188. ARDC leads the Australasian DMP Interest Group and other communities of practice. Sign up to join us at our next meet up on 19 August 2021.
3. RDA Q&A and catch-up session, 19 May 2021
Session coordinator: Stefanie Kethers
The third session was an informal RDA Q&A and catch-up session on 19 May 2021, hosted by Stefanie Kethers, Director of Operations, RDA. This was an open session for anyone interested in RDA to ask questions about any aspects of RDA. About 10 participants from the region joined the session and asked questions about the last Plenary, about navigating the Website, and other aspects of RDA. Resources of interest to the session participants included the RDA for Newcomers page and the Group and Output catalogues.
4. Data Policy, 20 May 2021
Session coordinator: Natasha Simons
Natasha Simons ran the final session on Data Policy on 20 May 2021, which had more than 80 attendees from the region. This session provided an overview of the joint session of the Research Funders and Stakeholders on Open Research and Data Management and Practices IG, the Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation IG and the FAIRsharing Registry: Connecting data policies, standards and databases WG held at RDA VP17, which focussed on providing an overview of a joint project to examine funder-publisher policy alignment and provide recommendations on how to improve alignment.
The slides and recording from this VP17 Regional Event session can be found here: http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4922756.
We were very pleased that the sessions attracted good numbers of participants from our region, and that several of the participants decided to join RDA and some of the groups mentioned in the sessions. Given the success of the regional event in attracting new and renewed interest in RDA and its activities on a regional level, we will definitely consider running a similar event again after the next Plenary.