RDA VP17 Final Report
RDA's 17th Plenary was first conceived in 2018 as a physical event, scheduled to take place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Three years later and after extensive planning, first for a hybrid event and later for a virtual get-together of the RDA community, RDA Virtual Plenary 17 took place on 20-23 April 2021 on JUNO Live. Over 800 attendees joined a total of 123 meetings over five days, including a rich programme of co-located events, ceilidh dancing, Scottish comedy and much more. The recordings of the Plenary sessions have been uploaded to the RDA VP17 programme page.
The summaries below, disseminated to VP17 attendees at the end of each day, bring together the highlights of every Plenary day; with the event now concluded, they have been updated to provide some key links and information.
Thank you again for joining us for yet another buzzing gathering of the RDA community.
RDA Secretariat and VP17 Organisers
Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 April, 2021
The first day of Plenary 17 kicked off after a series of RDA co-located events on Monday 19 of April. More information about the event and a recording of the co-located event Service R&D for Archiving and Preservation for Research Environments is now available here. The organisers of the co-located event PARSEC: Vocabularies need to be trusted and usable have produced a short report on the outcomes of their meeting, which is now available on this page.
Hilary Hanahoe, RDA Secretary General along with local host representatives Kevin Ashley (DCC), Gavin McLachlan (University of Edinburgh), Rachel Bruce (UKRI) and Liam Earney (Jisc) welcomed everyone to RDA VP17 and opened the floor for the first keynote talk by Dr Jeni Tennison (ODI). In a wide-ranging talk, Dr Tennison covered many areas we need to consider to improve the flow of data between public bodies, researchers and other users. Data governance, data institutions, ethics and trust, and the need to work together to find the 'Goldilocks Zone' for data were just a few of the topics covered in an inspiring 30 minutes. Dr Tennison's presentation is available here.
Later in the day, the Working Group on Raising Fairness in Health Data discussed practical steps being taken to make progress on some of the issues to do with making better use of health data, which Dr Tennison touched on in her opening keynote. The Group's session recording is now available on YouTube.
The day continued with a unique networking session, where Laura Green from the Scots Language Centre gave an introduction to Scots, one of the three native languages spoken in Scotland today.
We also saw two RDA Q&A sessions, with some great discussion about offering even more inclusive future plenaries, including having simultaneous translation into multiple languages.
After two packed breakouts and 18 group sessions, we joined Sarah Jones and others in the joint RDA and IDCC Unconference, where eight sessions covered topics such as FAIR data, data stewardship, PIDs, data sharing and more.
The day ended with a poster session where presenters spoke about their work.
Day two of the Virtual Plenary kicked off with the RDA Business, Outputs and Adoption session. Hilary Hanahoe (RDA Secretary General) along with Rebecca Koskela (RDA US) and Natalie Harrower (DRI) gave a summary of the RDA’s strategic plans for the future, including financial sustainability. The theme of sustainability was carried into the next presentations from Edit Herczog and members of the RDA Sustainable Development Goals Interest Group, who discussed their work on mapping RDA Outputs to the SDGs. Finally, the session closed with a presentation from Cynthia Parr on the Agricultural Data IG’s plans to establish one of the RDA’s first Communities of Practice. The recording of the RDA Business, Outputs and Adoption session is now available.
We then moved on to three packed breakouts with over thirty sessions throughout the day - but not without taking a break to bring a bit of Scotland to your screens. Standup comedian and podcaster Stuart Goldsmith has been performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for years, and he was at RDA VP17 providing a bit of laughter as a side to our lunchbreak!
The day closed with a Panel Session and a lively discussion on the topic of ’Facilitating Greater Data Reuse: Lessons and Examples from Practice’ chaired by Juan Bicarregui (UKRI-STFC) and featuring Amy Pienta (ICPSR), Malarvizhi Veerappan (World Bank), Vundli Ramokolo (South African Medical Research Council) and James Hetherington (UCL). You can catch up with this recording here.
Make sure to check out #RDAPlenary on Twitter for snapshots of the day!
After ten co-located events and over one hundred sessions, RDA VP17 came to an end on 23 April.
The day started by looking back to the third and semi-final day of the Plenary, with at least three more breakouts – or four, depending on your time zone – as well as more social and poster sessions, RDA Q&As, keynote talks, and a sneak peek in what is next for RDA Plenaries.
In between Thursday’s 34 breakout sessions and during coffee breaks, we also heard from RDA VP17 sponsors Chris Houghton and Martin McCall from Gale Cengage, as well as Antonio G Martinez, CEO of Libnova.
Further RDA Q&A sessions gave the community the chance to drop in and talk to RDA Secretariat and others involved in RDA.
For your Scottish flavour of the day, Patricia Herterich (DCC) led a virtual ceilidh lesson, with RDA Secretariat members, Hilary Hanahoe and RDA mascot Pawsie joining the virtual dance.
The Poster Spotlight session that followed provided one more opportunity to poster presenters to discuss their work.
In the first of two content-filled closing keynote talks, Susan K Gregorick of NIH gave us insight into some of the huge range of data-related activities that NIH is engaged in. It was notable that despite their scale, NIH still reused and benefited from work developed by others in the RDA community and elsewhere, as well as producing so much themselves that can be reused in turn. We were also thrilled to hear her announcement that NIH will be supporting RDA through an organisational membership. The presentation can be found here.
We then heard from Prof Richard Gold of McGill University's Centre for Intellectual Property. In a thought-provoking presentation rich with real-world examples, he articulated the reasons why he believes that openness is a necessary but not sufficient condition for innovation to thrive. As well as describing the problems with the system we have, he proposed concrete, achievable measures for change which would benefit research, the organisations and individuals that conduct it, and society as a whole.
Hilary Hanahoe took the floor to announce the most voted poster – Congratulations to Robert Ulrich, Nina Weisweiler & Michael Witt for their poster ‘re3data - Discovering FAIR enabling repositories’, who received a free registration for P18! If you missed their poster, make sure to check it out at https://rda-idcc.junolive.co/live/partner/discovering_fair_enabling_repo.... But the poster competition winners are not the only ones to receive a complimentary registration to P18; Isabelle Perseil and Thomas Reeson were declared most active attendees, according to the VP17 leaderboard.
We also got a sneak peek into IDW2021 and IDW2023. To learn more about upcoming Plenaries, please visit https://www.rd-alliance.org/plenaries.
The recording of the closing session (including the two keynotes, Hilary Hanahoe's wrap-up and upcoming Plenary information) can be found here.
A few hours after the final plenary session, we moved into the international and meeting session schedule spread over the wee (BST) hours of the 23rd, and well into the morning.
Four more co-located events took place on 23 April, including a co-located workshop on priorities and international alignment for the European Open Science Cloud, which featured presentations on the future plans for the EOSC, a slot focused specifically on the RDA4EOSC project (https://www.rd-alliance.org/get-involved/value-rda/value-research-data-a...), wrapping up with a panel discussion chaired by the RDA’s Hilary Hanahoe. The recording of the co-located event is now available.
RDA P17 has now formally wrapped up, and thank you again to those community members who attended. We hope to see you again virtually for Plenary 18!