The Research Data Alliance (RDA) builds the social and technical bridges that enable open sharing of data.
The RDA vision is researchers and innovators openly sharing data across technologies, disciplines, and countries to address the grand challenges of society.
The current global research data landscape is highly fragmented, by disciplines or by domains, from oceanography, life sciences and health, to agriculture, space and climate. When it comes to cross-disciplinary activities, the notions of "building blocks" of common data infrastructures and building specific "data bridges" are becoming accepted metaphors for approaching the data complexity and enable data sharing. The Research Data Alliance enables data to be shared across barriers through focused Working Groups and Interest Groups, formed of experts from around the world – from academia, industry and government. Participation in RDA is open to anyone who agrees to its guiding principles of openness, consensus, balance, harmonisation, with a community driven and non-profit approach.
The Research Data Alliance (RDA) was launched as a community-driven organisation in 2013 by the European Commission, the United States National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Australian Government’s Department of Innovation with the goal of building the social and technical infrastructure to enable open sharing of data.
With over 5,400 members from 123 countries (April 2017), RDA provides a neutral space where its members can come together through focused global Working and Interest Groups to develop and adopt infrastructure that promotes data-sharing and data-driven research, and accelerate the growth of a cohesive data community that integrates contributors across domain, research, national, geographical and generational boundaries.
RDA Plenaries are held every six months in different places around the world. They bring together a unique community of data scientists, librarians, computer scientists, and domain scientists. Plenary meetings are special working events that really help move the community forward in creating tangible deliverables that improve data sharing across disciplines, technologies, and countries. Each plenary has a different theme, for example "Data Infrastructures for Open Science" (9th Plenary) and "Better Data, Better Decisions (BD2)" (10th Plenary).
Members of the Research Team in Jisc regularly attend the plenary meetings promoting Jisc projects, engaging with the international community and representing the UK in relevant interest/working groups, birds of a feather sessions and co-located events/workshops.
Details of all past plenaries are available at https://www.rd-alliance.org/plenary-meetings/past-plenaries.
For details of future plenaries see https://www.rd-alliance.org/plenaries.
UK Data Infrastructure Coordination through support of the RDA
Jisc has funded the RDA to support the organisation as it develops a sustainable model. This supports work to help coordinate UK data systems, researchers and infrastructure providers, within the context of RDA, helps to provide diverse and expert advice on data efforts, and to generally improve the efficiency of UK data infrastructure development.
Jisc will be the point of contact for RDA activity in the UK receiving timely updates and notifications on outputs and activities that will contribute to the UK participation in and take-up of the RDA outputs.This arrangement will support Jisc’s aim to ensure that UK research and its outputs are part of the global research infrastructure, in particular helping to inform the best practices and standards that Jisc (and other related UK infrastructure) can implement to support the creation, management and sharing of research data as a primary research output and knowledge foundation. Jisc activities will inform the working groups and recommendations emanating from the RDA process.
Supporting the RDA endeavour is in line with the Jisc mission for effective research data management and sharing, and to open a channel so the expertise of the RDA network is more effectively joined up with our developing research data shared infrastructure. Jisc has a strong interest in research data and is providing solutions and developing them with universities and in collaboration with the research councils, etc. It is important to be engaged in the RDA and, as a community, helping it become sustainable is of benefit to shared standards for this critical area.
Jisc is working with the UK Research Councils to support RDA work in the UK. In November 2016, as part of this work, we hosted our first Research Data Alliance meeting in the UK. This workshop was based in the UK with the aim of bringing the RDA to the wider UK related community.
The report from the workshop is available in this blog post.
There are plans to hold a second workshop before the end of 2017.
To promote the work of the RDA and the outputs from its working groups, a number of RDA sessions have featured in Jisc's Research Data Network events: