Community of Practices (CoPs) Establishment Review Process

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08 March 2021 206 reads

CoPs undergo a formal review before they are recognized and endorsed by RDA, which comprise the following steps:

Step 1.
At least three members write up an Agreement using the RDA CoP Agreement Components page as a guide.  The completed draft should be submitted to the RDA Secretariat at enquiries@rd-alliance.org or through the"Initiate a New Grouplink on the RDA website.  While writing your Agreement, please keep the following elements in mind:

  • There should be at least three co-chairs (from at least three different continents) leading the initiative – this helps to keep the group going and balance workload;
  • There should be a balance of expertise and geographic representation - members are international experts, and the group spans at least at least 10 countries across 3 continents;
  • The proposed CoP should provide a forum for communication and coordination around the discipline and/or research domain of interest within and outside the RDA;
  • The group should be technology and product neutral – it should not promote one specific product or technology nor develop or endorse solutions that may lead to technology lock-in.

Step 2.
The Secretariat puts the Agreement out for Community Review. During the Community Review phase (6 weeks), all members of the RDA community, as well as the Organisational Advisory Board (OAB) and Regional Advisory Board (RAB), are invited to read and comment on any aspects of the document.

Simultaneously, the Agreement goes to the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) for review. During the TAB Review phase, two members of the TAB will review the Agreement according to the following criteria:

  • Focus and Fit: Are the CoP objectives aligned with the RDA mission? Is the scope too large for effective progress, too small for an RDA effort, or not appropriate for the RDA? Overall, is this a worthwhile effort for the RDA to take on? Is this an effort that adds value over and above what is currently being done within the community?
  • Capacity: Does the initial membership list include sufficient expertise, and disciplinary and international representation? Are the people involved in the CoP sufficient to make tangible progress? What individuals or organizations are missing? Have key stakeholders provided letters of support?
  • Impact and Engagement: Is it likely that the CoP will engage the intended community? Is there evidence that the research community wants this? Will the outcome(s) and activities of the CoP foster data sharing and/or exchange?

The TAB reviewers will come to one of three conclusions, providing appropriate supporting material: the Agreement is sufficient, requires revision, or is rejected. Depending upon the conclusion, another revision of the Agreement may be in order. This cycle may need to be repeated until the CoP and TAB are satisfied with the content.


Step 3.
If any comments are received, the CoP co-chairs and writing team addresses them and provides the revised Agreement to the Secretariat (2 weeks at most).


Step 4.
Secretariat prepares the review package for Council (Agreement, letters, community comments, TAB review, OAB and RAB commentary received) (maximum 1 week)


Step 5.
Council then reviews the Agreement in consultation with TAB (2 weeks), and makes one of four possible decisions:

  • Recognized and endorsed as is: Strong Agreement - Group is recognized as an RDA CoP and should commence its work.
  • Recognized and endorsed subject to specific revisions - Worthwhile CoP concept, changes need to be made to strengthen the Agreement and meet approval criteria. After the approach has been modified, the CoP will be recognized by RDA and commence its work.
  • Encouraged but not presently endorsed - Good CoP concept but needs refinement. The CoP needs to mature its concept and refine its Agreement for approval. Council (via Secretariat) will provide specific feedback and clarification on what is needed.
  • Not endorsed - The CoP is not a good fit for the RDA or does not meet other criteria for approval. Council will provide specific feedback and clarification.

Step 6.
Once again, any revisions required must be completed, and the cycle repeated until Council is satisfied with the content.


Step 7.
Upon approval, Secretariat will help the CoP with its working, communication, and recording processes. Joint activities with RDA affiliates and organizational members are encouraged.


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