Nordic Research Data Lights

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15 Aug 2018

Nordic Research Data Lights

15 August 2018

Two days immersed in beautiful Helsinki, a wonderful city at any time of the year, but particularly attractive when the sun is shining down upon you. Two days immersed in research data discussions, as welcoming and heart warming as the sun itself.

The Finnish RDA node managed by CSC the Finnish center of expertise in ICT and supported by the EC through the RDA Europe grant, was instrumental in organising the meetings with Nordic stakeholders and Finnish researchers and actors. As part of their national node mandate they are raising awareness of RDA in Finland, but going way beyond that to involve the other Nordic actors to ensure that the discussion is open and all encompassing.

Many of the participants at the Nordic meeting are involved in CESSDA ERIC (Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives European Research Infrastructure Consortium), an RDA Organisational Member and contribute actively to a series of RDA Working and Interest groups. The report generated by Ricarda Braukmann, Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) which acts as a national RDA node in the Netherlands and as an ambassador for the social sciences, an RDA Overview for the Social Sciences was of particular interest to them and an interesting read for you all.

It was clear that multiple stakeholders are seated around the tables in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and what is even more encouraging is that they are willing and eager to collaborate and cooperate to act on a Nordic level, particularly in relation to the Research Data Alliance. As Margaret Louise Fotland, University of Oslo pointed out “researchers are global even if they are local”, so RDA is of huge value in offering the global perspective.

What is most encouraging is that we are moving forward as a community together, an excellent basis for the future.” Henrikka Mustajoki from the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies responded when asked what are the Finnish successes in research data so far during the Research Data Breakfast, 14 August 2018. The presentations and recordings are available on-line.

What struck me most about the discussions I had over these two days is the sea of change that is happening in the Nordic countries around the research data landscape. New national and regional coordination bodies, directorates and agencies to minimise overlap, avoid redundancy and ensure collaboration, have been set up to implement the national open science and open data action plans. Changes and strategic implementation plans that are indicative of the importance given to research, data and science in each of the countries.

So, in addition to the bright sun in Helsinki, there are bright lights on the research data horizon across the Nordic countries. I look forward to my next visit to see them shining even brighter.

Hilary Hanahoe, Secretary General, Research Data Alliance, 15 August 2018