RDA November Newsletter

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22 Nov 2018

RDA November Newsletter

Did You Ever Feel Like You Won the (Data) Lottery?

Blog post by Hilary Hanahoe, RDA Secretary General

November saw our first RDA plenary in Africa within the framework of International Data Week 2018, which we co-organised with the ISC CODATA and WDS SciDataCon2018, and co-hosted by the University of Botswana and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF). With 850 delegates from 66 countries (over 50% from Africa) and a rich and packed programme, it was an experience beyond any expectation.

RDA plenary meetings are where you see the fruits of the community's labour over the previous 6 months. P12 had 58 breakout meetings over the 7 allocated RDA sessions. 13 of those were Birds of a Feather (BoF), which indicates the continuous injection of new ideas for the creation of RDA Working and Interest groups covering a range of different FAIR aspects, RDM and disciplinary focuses including social sciences and engineering. Not surprisingly sustainable goals and the international dimensions and collaboration around research data were amongst the BoFs organised. 11 working groups met to continue their recommendation development, with 28 Interest groups furthering their discussions and 11 meetings cross fertilised amongst groups with a common interest or activity focus.

How can you capitalise on the investment made in attending the event? How can a week of intense and varied discussions be translated into something more concrete and long lasting? How can you stay in contact with the experts you met at IDW? Get involved in RDA. 

Join the RDA community by registering, free of charge, at and begin making plans to attend our Plenary meetings in 2019: RDA 13th Plenary Meeting, 2-4 April 2019, Philadelphia, PA, US and RDA 14th Plenary Meeting, 23-25 October 2019, Helsinki, Finland.

Read the full blog post by Hilary Hanahoe

Image courtesy of Fosca Giannotti, National Research Council, Italy


RDA Regional Engagement Webinars

Since its inception in 2013, the RDA has grown rapidly. As of November 2018, it now has nearly 7500 individual members based in over 137 countries. In light of this growth, the RDA Council concluded in 2017 that the overall strategy needed to be revisited to create a resilient organisation able to deliver on its commitments and satisfy the community and stakeholders. In November 2017, four sub-committees were created, one of which focused on regional engagement. 

The RDA regional engagement framework as part of the RDA strategy for sustainability was presented in IDW18. Creating strong partnerships across the globe is imperative to ensure the RDA community activity and outputs are sustained and given just visibility in national and regional contexts as well as to support a resilient RDA to deliver on its commitments and satisfy the community and stakeholders across the globe. RDA Regional Engagement is in a consultation phase at the moment with all interested parties invited to join the public RDA Regions group to stay abreast of the updates, webinars and documentation. 

Two webinars have been scheduled to outline the RDA regional engagement framework and allow interested parties an opportunity to learn more, interact with the presenters and ask questions on the regional strategy recently presented by RDA

  • On Wednesday 5 December 2018 at 11:00 CET (10:00 UTC) webinar held by Ingrid Dillo, Deputy Director DANS & RDA Council, Sara Garavelli, Project Manager Trust-IT Services & RDA Europe Coordinator and Sarah Jones,  DCC and RDA Regional Engagement Task Force. To attend, please register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/911875965541144578

  • On Wednesday 5 December 2018 at 14:00 EDT (19:00 UTC), webinar held by Leslie McIntosh Borelli, Executive Director RDA US and Mark Leggott, Executive Director Research Data Canada, both members of the RDA Regional Engagement Task Force. To attend, please register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7341341677218774529

Webinar: RDA GEDE Webinar: Interoperability Through Digital Objects And Digital Object Interface Protocol

7 Dec 2018 14:00 - 16:00 CET

Presenters: Larry Lannom (Vice President CNRI, Virginia), Dimitris Koureas (Head DISSCO Coordination Team), Christophe Bianchi (Executive Director DONA Foundation)

Assuming that the FAIR Principles are now widely known, presenters will discuss the concept of Digital Objects (DO) from a computer science and domain science perspective.  They will also present the DO Interface Protocol (DOIP), which has the potential to establish interoperability between repositories of digital data, independent of the way they are organising their data and which data model they are using.

Webinar Information Page and Link: https://www.rd-alliance.org/group/gede-group-european-data-experts-rda/event/rda-gede-webinar-interoperability-through-digital 

Forum: Digital Humanities Pathways

Sydney, Fri 7 Dec 9:00 - 17:00 AEDT

Presented by Tinker, tailored research tools for the HASS community, a product of the HASS DEVL Project, the DH Pathways Forum will bring together researchers and professionals to speak about the links between research, data, and national infrastructure.

Community of Practice: Sensitive Data - Kickoff Meeting

Wed 12 Dec 12:00 - 13:00 AEDT

This CofP will provide an opportunity for anyone interested to discuss the challenges and strategies for managing this type of data. The idea for a Sensitive Data Community of Practice came out of the 'Sensitive data: how do you do yours?' eResearch Australasia Birds of a Feather session, where there was indicated an interest in a continuing discussion around sensitive data. 

ARDC Newsletter, November 2018 

Group updates: 

TAB Election 2018

We are delighted to announce the 5 new members elected to serve on TAB for a 3-year term:

  • Christine Kirkpatrick (Americas), Executive Director US National Data Service & Division Director, Research Data Services
  • Dimitris Koureas* (Europe and Africa), Director International Biodiversity Infrastructures, Naturalis Biodiversity Center
  • Isabelle Perseil (Europe and Africa), CTO/IT Director INSERM
  • Raed M. Sharif (Americas), Researcher International Development Research Center (IDRC)
  • Frankie Stevens (Asia and Oceania), Advisor/Consultant AARNet PTY Ltd (APL)

Wenbo Chu, Steve Diggs and Larry Lannom have now officially finished their term on TAB following many years of service. The whole RDA community thanks them very much for the hard work, passion, expertise and dedication that they have given to RDA.

Last but not least, this year also marks a change in the TAB chairs. Andrew Treloar, ARDC, who has supported TAB since the very beginning stands down as co-chair. A new TAB co-chair, to work with Francoise Genova, will be announced soon.

Congratulations to all of them!

Meet RDA Technical Advisory Board


RDA Announces 2019 Call for Council Nominations

At this time, the 2019 Council Nominations Committee is soliciting nominations for 3 open Council positions. To nominate an individual for one of these positions, the Committee requests a letter of nomination and two letters of endorsement (all from RDA members) be sent to Council-nominations19@rd-alliance.org by 10 February 2019. Interested candidates may self-nominate but not self-endorse.

Council members are expected to be “statespersons” committed to supporting the aims of the RDA rather than promoting special interests, regions, domains or disciplines. Since RDA is an international organization, it is important that the Council also reflect geographic, gender, and ethnic diversity.

Successful nominees are expected to

  • Be committed to the success of RDA and focus on the benefits to RDA/international over other (and regional) priorities as part of RDA Council discussions and efforts.
  • Have experience working successfully with a stakeholder community and be willing to do the same on behalf of RDA.
  • Be willing to engage actively in RDA as defined by attendance at Council meetings, attendance at Plenaries, responsiveness to RDA Council and other communications and email, and appropriate other RDA participation and travel.
  • Be able to represent the entire RDA community and not just their particular region, profession, expertise, or other category.
  • Contribute good judgement, strategic thinking, shared responsibility, time and attention to and in Council discussions and efforts.
  • Collaborate well and respectfully with other Council members, RDA leaders, and RDA members.

To learn more about the nomination process and the timeline, please visit https://rd-alliance.org/rda-call-council-nominations-2019.

Our Members: 

RDA representation on EOSC Executive Board 

Article by Hilary Hanahoe, RDA Secretary General

The European Commission announced the members of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Executive Board (EB) during the launch of the EOSC in Vienna, Austria. The Research Data Alliance (RDA) is delighted that Juan Bicarregui will represent RDA on the European Science Cloud Executive Board (EOSC EB).

The Executive Board’s tasks are to establish a cooperation between the European Commission (EC) and Research & Infrastructure (R&I) stakeholders on questions relating to the Implementation Roadmap for the European Open Science Cloud (‘EOSC’) in coordination with the Member States. The group shall assist the EC in the first phase of development of the EOSC until 2020 and in the preparation of the transition to the second phase of development of the EOSC after 2020.

Juan is Head of the Data Division, Scientific Computing Department, Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) in the United Kingdom. Juan’s vast national, European and international experience in e- and research infrastructures, science policy and strategy as well as his active role in the co-ordination and management of the EOSCpilot project and funder representation on Open Science policy in Europe, give him the necessary experience, insights and knowledge to provide advice and support on the strategy, implementation, monitoring and reporting on the progress of the implementation of the EOSC.

Juan has been actively contributing to the Research Data Alliance since its inception, and indeed is one of the founding members. He has covered a myriad of roles in the alliance, including Organisational Advisory Board co-chair, Sustainability and regional engagement task force leadership. RDA believes that given his contribution and involvement, he has a deep understanding of the many facets of the alliance as well as the complex challenges and problems that the research, scientific and private sectors face in terms of interoperability.

I am delighted that the RDA community is represented on the EOSC EB. This is an important milestone, not only for Europe but globally and RDA as a truly international community can offer insights and contributions from across the globe. Juan has been involved in RDA since the very beginning, when RDA was an idea and a dream. He has been instrumental in many aspects of RDA and it is fitting that he represent the “RDA vox populi”. I look forward to witnessing the important goals that Juan and his EB colleagues will achieve over the next few years. RDA will benefit greatly from being involved and contributing to the realisation of the European Open Science Cloud.

Hilary Hanahoe, RDA Secretary General, November 2018

Read the full article

Discipline Focus: 

RDA for .....

Have you checked out the disciplinary sections on the RDA web site? If not have a look and see if your disciplinary area of interest is featured there. If not, you can volunteer to support the creation of disciplinary text for the web site. Just write to enquiries[at]rd-alliance.org

The RDA Europe programme is currently seeking experts in their domain and skilled communicators who are affiliated to European institutes to act as an RDA Europe Ambassador. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 5 December at 17:00 CET (16:00 UTC). More details, including the webinar recording and slides, and applications forms are all online.


IDW2018 & 12th Plenary Meeting Perspectives: Some Blogs on the Botswana Experience ...

Four Days At The IDW18 In Gaborone by Rossella Aversa

"The huge amount of parallel sessions and of different topics surprised me in a favourable way: the IDW18 program was incredibly rich, covering many aspects of the data life cycle and management."

The International Data Week 2018 And My First RDA Plenary by Martina Trognitz

"Despite the large variety in disciplines and participants all had one topic in common: data and how to keep and disseminate it for fellow and future researchers."

RDA Connecting People (Also At Airports!) by Tomasz Miksa

"The speech of the president of Botswana opening the plenary was witty, but also very clear that innovation, data and infrastructures are the key way to modernise Botswana. There were again plenty of opportunities to meet other people working in my domain."

All Is FAIR In Love And Data - Attending The 12th RDA Plenary In Botswana by Laura Rothfritz

"I was impressed with the amount of different Working Groups, Interest Groups and Birds of a Feather groups in RDA and the different kinds of perspectives each WG or IG has to offer on those kinds of questions, which ultimately concern all areas of (research) data management, such as FAIR."


Updates From: 

EOSC Launch & High Level Expert Group Reports

The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) was officially launched at the University of Vienna, Austria earlier this month. Compared to a 16th century British  'coffeehouse' for researchers and scientists, EOSC brings together existing infrastructure in one virtual portal, thus marking the beginning of 'Science with no borders' (Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation). The portal is now available for use and is planned to become fully operational in 2020. 

November 23rd also saw the launch of the EOSC High Level Expert Group (HLEG) report titled 'Prompting an EOSC in Practice'.  Utilising various policy papers and recommendations from EOSC related H2020 projects, national initiatives, the FAIR Data expert group and the Open Science Policy Platform, the report focuses on how EOSC can interlink people, data, services and training, publications, projects and organisations. The report asserts that Europe possesses the necessary skills, knowledge and capacity to materialise the EOSC vision in less than a year. 

The FAIR HLEG also published an action plan to ensure that data and outputs in general are FAIR  - not only within EOSC, but also providing a framework that can be applicable globally. Titled 'Turning FAIR into reality: Final report and action plan from the European Commission expert group on FAIR data', the report provides a survey and analysis of requirements for FAIR implementation, as well as recommendations for different stakeholder groups, with a focus on the necessary actions needed 'in terms of research culture and technology to ensure that data and outputs in general are made FAIR'.

This implementation will be supported through EOSC; however, the authors go beyond implementation by European members, and stress that EOSC developments should align with comparable initiatives worldwide (NIH Data Commons, the Australian Research Data Commons and also the proposed African Open Science Platform). It is important that FAIR data and Open Science cross both geographical and disciplinary boundaries, and that global agreements are in place to ensure broad interoperability and reusability. 

At RDA, we look forward to working with EOSC to advance this framework across all regions, organisations and cultures. 


Plenary Updates: 

RDA 13th Plenary Meeting, 2-4 April 2019, Philadelphia, PA, US

The Call for Sessions at the 13th Plenary Meeting is open until 5 January 2019 23.59 UTC. You can apply for a Working or Interest Group meeting, a Birds of a Feather (BoF) session or indeed with other co-chairs apply for a Joint session. All details on the 13th Plenary meeting page

RDA Europe financial support programmes for 13th Plenary

RDA Europe is offering financial support to Early Career Researchers & Scientists working in Europe with data to attend the 13th RDA Plenary meeting, to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 2- 4 April 2019. The application period closes on 5 February 2019, 17:00 CET and full details are available online

RDA Europe offers up to five grants for experts to attend the 13th RDA Plenary meeting to be held Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 2-4 April 2019. The application period closes on 5 February 2019, 17:00 CET and full details are available online


RDA 14th Plenary Meeting, 23-25 October 2019, Helsinki, Finland

If you missed the recent announcements about the 14th RDA Plenary Meeting, then you will be pleased to know that Aalto University, CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd, the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies will be our hosts in Helsinki from 23-25 October 2019. The local organisers are delighted to host the Plenary in Finland to boost the collaboration around data not only regionally, but to offer a Finnish twist to the open data discussion globally.

Finland has invested greatly into building ecosystems of open data. In 2014-2017 the Ministry of Education and Culture (OKM) led the Open Science and Research (ATT) project, which made Finland an internationally recognised pioneer in Open Science. Building on that success, the Finnish Council of University Rectors launched in 2018 an action programme for the Finnish scholarly community. The aim is no less than to make Finland the Open Science and Data trendsetter.

Finland will be in the spotlight of Europe during autumn 2019 thanks to Finland’s EU Presidency starting in July 2019. 

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