Case Statement



This Interest Group will focus on data related issues of science applications associated with large scale source facilities, including: synchrotron x-ray sources, free-electron laser x-ray sources, reactor and spallation neutron sources, muon sources, large electron microscope, NMR and high-powered laser facilities, which are used typically for investigations into the structure of matter at micro or nano scale.  These facilities are characterised by a central facility providing access to scarce and specialised instruments which are typically beyond the means of single research groups, and are thus shared and used by many research teams to conduct experiments.  These experiments come from a wide range of disciplines including chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, biology, metallurgy, engineering, materials science, palaeontology and archaeology. The user communities are rather heterogeneous, volatile and globally distributed. Issues to be tackled are hence bound to be global and interdisciplinary requiring a decent level of standardization and interoperability. 


Benefit to the photon and neutron community

The Photon and Neutron data infrastructure and management community, and its associated computing and user communities, are a relatively geographically scattered community, with only a few facilities in each country or continent.   However, together they form a significant body who benefit from collaborating to develop expertise, and share best practise on computing and data issues to provide an advanced and  efficient service to its science community.   There are existing initiatives, such as the PaNdata initiative within Europe, and there are appropriate conferences, collaborative tools and other mechanisms.  However, the RDA offers a forum for further collaboration which is global in scale and allows the interaction with other data intensive research communities.





Source facilities share a number of issues in their data handling.  These could include:

  • scalability of data volumes and data access rates
  • standardization of (meta-)data and vocabularies
  • metadata for cataloguing data
  • data publishing, discovery, sharing, transfer and access
  • data policies
  • data analysis tools and frameworks supporting workflows and provenance
  • federation of identities and services
  • interaction with the data handling practices and standards within different communities.



The Interest Group will establish an open technical forum for discussion of issues and advancement of developments and implementations.

The Interest Group will bring together interested parties to:

  • Identify and share areas of best practice in facilities data management
  • Identify issues and case studies suitable for consideration within other groups in RDA
  • Liaise with other groups within RDA to identify areas of technology and best practice of interest to the Facilities Science community
  • Identify specific activities of interest for the facilities data management community which are suitable for consideration for an RDA working group.

Initial work items


The initial programme of work could include work items including


  • Interoperability of widely adopted data catalogues i.e. ICAT, IRODS, TARDIS and dCache.
  • Interoperability of Identity Management systems across facilities
  • Standards for unified data access and third party transfer
  • APIs that enable open science data collaboration


Interaction with groups in RDA 


The PaNSig would have an interest in interacting with a wide range of groups within RDA, including groups considering the topics of: 

  • metadata
  • cloud computing
  • data publication
  • engagement
  • practical policy
  • big data analytics
  • chemistry safety
  • computational biology
  • federated identity management


Related Projects and Activities


There are a number of initiatives, collaborations and tools which PaNSig would collaborate with, including:




Initial contributors to PaNSig (20/02/2014)

  • Brian Matthews - STFC, UK
  • Frank Schluenzen - DESY, DE
  • Juan Bicarregui - STFC, UK
  • Patrick Fuhrmann - DESY, DE
  • Amber Boehnlein - SLAC, US
  • Ray Osborn - ANL, US
  • Thomas E. Proffen - ORNL, US
  • Karl L. Gumerlock - SLAC, US
  • Nick Hauser - ANSTO, AUS
  • Steve Androulakis - Monash, AUS
  • David Skinner - LBL, US
  • Andy Goetz - ESRF, FR
  • Jean-Francois Perrin - ILL, FR
  • Roberto Pugliese - ELETTRA, IT
  • Dietmar Herrendörfer - HZB, DE
  • Rolf Krahl - HZB, DE
  • Stephan Egli - PSI, CH
  • Rainer Stotzka - KIT, DE
  • Mirjam van Daalen - PSI, CH



  • Amber Boehnlein - SLAC, US
  • Brian Matthews  - STFC, UK
  • Frank Schluenzen  - DESY, DE