The third plenary meeting in Dublin was the second RDA event I had the opportunity to attend. My participation at the plenary meeting this year was enabled by the financial support of the Early Career European Researchers Programme. I am very grateful for this opportunity and explicitly want to thank the organizers not only for the support of young scientists, but also for the perfect organization of an event where more than 475 experts could meet and exchange their ideas.
Although just one year has passed between the initial event and the third meeting, the results and the engagement that the RDA community has produced so far are incredible. At the first meeting, the lively atmosphere in and between breakout sessions was already an indicator for the dedication for data sciences that characterises the newly formed RDA community. The genesis of working and interest groups was particularly interesting to watch, especially as I had the opportunity of being involved in the WG Data Citation (WGDC) from the very beginning. Dynamic data citation is my primary research area that I am interested in the scope of my PhD thesis. Therefore, I was particularly happy that I could be a part of this group and learn from experts on that field from the very first day.
The initial birds of a feather session that was held during the first plenary meeting was highly important to define the scope of what eventually became the WGDC. After almost one year of iterative improvement of the initial ideas and core concepts WGDC was endorsed and could be presented to a broader audience as an official WG within the umbrella of the RDA. Watching this process was very exciting and informative. My personal highlight of the third plenary meeting in Dublin was participating in the “Making Dynamic Data Citeable Session”, which was chaired by Andreas Rauber, Ari Asmi and Dieter van Uytvanck.
The session was opened by an introduction and an overview of the achievements that have been made by the WGDC. The presentation was followed by a retrospection of the core principles and the presentation of the six pilot use cases that have already been submitted during the formation phase of the working group. The main goal of the session was to encourage experts in a broad and diverse range of domains to submit their use cases, based on which the core principles developed within the WGDC will be tested. Furthermore, the use cases should serve as a source of challenges that require new concepts in the area of data citation that need to be tackled.
The feedback and engagement of the participants of the WGDC session was remarkable. More than 30 experts from 25 organization participated in the discussions. Not only have the existing concepts immediately been challenged by insightful questions, but the amount of pilots that have been proposed was impressive. At the end of the session we counted nine additional use cases from equally many disciplines. The domains that have been suggested ranged from nuclear physics via oceanography towards the humanities and included a highly diverse set of data formats and technology stacks. The session was closed with the solicitation of posting details about the use cases to RDA wiki and engaging in discussions on the group mailing list.
The RDA meeting effectively demonstrated the importance of scientific data for an incredibly diverse set of communities across all continents. The engagement of the RDA members and their exchange of ideas show that we all can benefit from exchanging and sharing data. What we need is agreements on technology, on policies and practices, which be achieved best by meeting face to face and discuss the questions that we need answers for.
Author: William Smith
Date: 15 Apr, 2014
The Data Citation Principles cover purpose, function and attributes of citations. These principles recognize the dual necessity of creating citation practices that are both human understandable and machine-actionable. These citation principles are not comprehensive recommendations for data stewardship. And, as practices vary across communities and technologies will evolve over time, we do not include recommendations for specific implementations, but encourage communities to develop practices and tools that embody these principles.