Harmonizing FAIR descriptions of observational data WG


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Meeting objectives of the BoF session for the RDA 13th Plenary meeting:


The main objective of this meeting is to create an official RDA working group under the umbrella of VSSIG (Vocabulary and Semantic Services Interest Group) with a concrete working program focused on the harmonization of observation descriptions related to environmental, biological, and earth science phenomena through the use of terminologies. The working group aims to provide the following objectives:


  1. Collect research observation study cases suitable to demonstrate the value of a common approach

  2. Review existing semantic models in use and identify similarities and differences between them, based on the preliminary work described above

  3. Evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the different semantic approaches using the selected case studies

  4. Develop a robust semantic model to disaggregate and describe the essential elements of information describing the exact nature of scientific observation types, building on existing conceptual models (e.g., O&M and CSDMS)

  5. Ensure that the implementations of the model developed above are accessible to both machines and humans

  6. Identify and evaluate suitable terminologies to provide the atomic terms needed to feed the model

  7. Facilitate the alignment of existing approaches to the new model

  8. Compile guidelines and best practices using one or more aligned terminologies to describe data based on the common model

  9. Inform and collaborate with other relevant standardization efforts (such as BioSchemas, schema.org, and related ontologies)

For the envisaged working group the identification of terminologies and the alignment effort (steps 6 and 7) is limited to the observable properties and entities. A further working group as follow up could continue work on topics such as observation and measurement methods, devices, and units if desired.


Specific objectives for the meeting are:

  • Presentation, discussion and general agreement with the objectives of the case statement

  • Identification of additional partners, especially from beyond the European Union, and of task leads

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