Brokering Governance WG - TAB Review

Working Group Title: Brokering Governance 

Proposers: Stefano Nativi, Max Craglia, Jay Pearlman

Date Case Statement Received by TAB (mm-dd-yyyy): 08-05-2014 (Revised version, original received 06-01-2014)

Date Review Submitted by TAB (mm-dd-yyyy): __11 Sept 2014____________________

TAB Reviewers: Simon Cox ; Beth Plale

Recommendation:  Case Statement is Sufficient _; Case Statement Requires Revision _X_;

Summary:   For the proposed RDA WG to be effective, the right stakeholders need to be named and willing to commit to adoption, the scope of what falls under a governance model needs to be made more explicit, and an explanation of how test/evalution of governance models will be carried out needs to be made more explicit.  TAB is convinced the topic has merit and the team is right; it encourages consideration of these issues and a resubmit.

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Completeness of Case Statement (Does it include the six requisite components: (1) WG Charter; (2) Value Proposition: (3) Engagement with Existing Work in the Area; (4) Work Plan; (5) Adoption Plan; (6) Initial Membership?): Yes X ; No __; Comments:

Engagement with existing work is decribed in introduction and through the three use-cases planned for the activity, which link into significant existing projects. 

Focus and Fit:  (Are the Working Group objectives and deliverables 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?)

Brokering is an important tool to facilitate the management of distributed research data sources. Given that adherence to a single standard is unlikely or impossible, the Research Data community must plan strategies for dealing with heterogeneity. The effectiveness of the brokering approach has been demonstrated in a number of projects, but for widescale and persistent adoption, the issue of governance must be addressed. It is a pre-requisite for sustainablity, which is essential for an infrastructure component. This is an excellent fit for RDA. 

Work Plan, Deliverables, and Outcomes:  (Are there measurable, practical deliverables and outcomes?  Can the proposed work, outcomes/deliverables, and Work Plan described in the Case Statement be accomplished in 12-18 months?)

The case statement, while carefully done and quite readable, is lacking in concreteness that would establish the compelling need and critical advancement brought by the group.  Specific suggested weaknesses to address:

-- vaguely defined scope of governance model:  the case statement proposes in the end a tested and vetted governance approach to using brokers for purposes of interoperability across disciplines.  But the breadth and general scope of a governance approach is lacking in the proposal.  What is the scope of a governance model?  What dimensions are included?  What components are included?  A single small example is given:  when an information infrastructure changs its interface it must notify the broker.  From the figure one could deduce that the governance approach guides a broker and its network of discipline specific repositories.  But nowhere is this said. 

Specifically, the specific components of the technology or architecture that are subject to governance considerations are not identified, even as examples. Are we talking about models and vocabularies, deployments, subscriptions, or what else? 

-- vague and inconsistent adopters/stakeholders:  the case statement proposes to use GEOSS broker (DAB) from CNR-IIA and states "in collaboration with selected stakeholders to examine". Please list these stakeholders by name so that TAB may confirm their commitment.  

Further in the document, a different set of use cases is identified fro GEOSS DAB, including GEO-BON, SDI, and IUSU WDS.  Please resolve the inconsistency, and identify necessary stakeholders by name so that TAB may confirm their commitment.  Too, the workplan shows 9 items, but item TB6 from the list appears to have been omitted from the table, with the following items renumbered. 

Capacity:  (Does the initial membership list include sufficient expertise, and disciplinary and international representation?  Are the right people involved in the Working Group to adopt and implement?  What individuals or organizations are missing?)

The initial membership includes participants from existing brokering initiatives. It appears that the RDA inititiave is leveraging existing project resources, particularly from EarthCube. 

Impact and Engagement:  (Is it likely that the outcome(s) of the Working Group will be taken up by the intended community?  Is there evidence that the research community wants this?  Will the outcome(s) of the Working Group foster data sharing and/or exchange?)

The brokering approach has been significantly adopted already in the GEOSS and EarthCube communities, as indicated in the references for the case statement. Oddly enough, EarthCube experience is not reflected as a contribution to the WG effort, nor listed as a stakeholder.  This highlights a more general concern that the engagement in the proposed group has weak US representation.  Can this be improved? 

The references suggest that the technical activity already has momentum and a level of adoption. The addition of an explicit treatment of governance is necessary for adoption and engagement more widely,

Summary:   For the proposed RDA WG to be effective, the right stakeholders need to be named and willing to commit to adoption, the scope of what falls under a governance model needs to be made more explicit, and an explanation of how test/evalution of governance models will be carried out needs to be made more explicit.  TAB is convinced the topic has merit and the team is right; it encourages consideration of these issues and a resubmit. 

Recommendation:  Case Statement is Sufficient _; Case Statement Requires Revision _X_; Comments: