Research Data Repository Interoperability WG Final Recommendations

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Research Data Repository Interoperability WG Final Recommendations

By Thomas Jejkal

RDA Research Data Repository Interoperability WG
Recommendation Title: Research Data Repository Interoperability WG Final Recommendations

This output provides recommendations with respect to an interoperable packaging and exchange format for digital content.

Once implemented, compliant packages can be used to migrate or replicate digital content between research data repository platforms or for preservation purposes

Authors: RDA Research Data Repository Interoperability Working Group
Group Chairs: Thomas Jejkal (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)), David Wilcox (Duraspace)
Recommendation package DOI: 10.15497/RDA00025


Huge amounts of research data stored in a multitude of research data repository platforms can often only be used by a comparably small audience. On the one hand, this is caused by differences in semantics, underlying data models and metadata schemas, whose complexity and number prevents scientists from taking advantage of them. On the other hand, a lack of interoperability between research data repository platforms causes research data not to be used to their full potential. The goal of the RDA Research Data Repository Interoperability WG (RDRIWG) was to achieve consensus on an adoptable approach to facilitating research data repository interoperability for a defined set of initial use cases. The following document presents final recommendations the members of the RDRIWG have agreed on. It describes a general exchange format based on the well-known BagIt specification complemented with BagIt Profiles, another specification defining how to describe the internal structure of BagIt-based packages. In order to achieve a basic level of interoperability with regard to the content of such exchange packages, the WG members have agreed on recommending to include DataCite metadata in each package. The presented recommendations document describes the exchange format itself together with adoption guidelines and information about related efforts. In addition, early adoptions are publicly available at GitHub and referenced within the document.

Please note that the current version of the Recommendation has been revised after the Community Review period.


The previous version is still accessible here:



Output Status: 
RDA Endorsed Recommendations
Review period start: 
Tuesday, 26 June, 2018 to Thursday, 26 July, 2018
Group content visibility: 
Use group defaults
Primary WG Focus / Output focus: 
Domain Agnostic: 
Domain Agnostic
  • Fran Lightsom's picture

    Author: Fran Lightsom

    Date: 05 Jul, 2018

    Comment on final recommendations: The general approach and detailed examples seem possible. My only quibble is about the appearance of "eventually" a few times in the text. I understand the sentence if that word is omitted, but I especially have trouble with the 3rd sentence in section 4.2: "if the BagPack eventually contains." The BagPack is already complete, right? There should be nothing added in an "eventual" way.

  • Anders Conrad's picture

    Author: Anders Conrad

    Date: 19 Jul, 2018

    We worked along similar lines in a pilot study with astrophysical data: self-contained BagIt archives with a fixed internal structure, including Datacite and other metadata included. In effect a BagPack, although not formally fully developed. Our perspective was to secure preservation beyond expected repository life time. We found BagIt/Datacite very suitable for that. If I had known this recommendation at the time, we would have considered using it.

    The format seems to provide support for the metadata requierments of FAIR principles, the distinction between data and metadata as well as be machine readable. And machine-producable from an external source, by our experience.

    Our work was reported in as well as the SpaceINN paper refered there.

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