Some 8,000 people across the globe are involved in Research Data Alliance (RDA), in efforts to make it easier for researchers to share and re-use data. 80 of those members have a connection to Sweden and SND hopes that more people shall be attracted to the organisation if SND's application for becoming a national RDA node is accepted.
―We would really like to have more active members from Sweden. It would strengthen our competence in all data-related matters that RDA deal with. If there were more of us, we could also have a larger impact on standards and recommendations for data management, says Maggie Hellström, Domain Specialist in SND and co-author of SND’s application to RDA, together with SND Director Max Petzold.
Maggie Hellström is an active member of the organisation and at present involved in three of RDA’s Working Groups. About ten SND employees are also members of RDA, several of them with an active involvement in Working Groups as well as in Interest Groups.
A lot of work is done in Working and Interest Groups
―Most of the work is done in the Working and Interest Groups. Someone has an idea for something that is needed, suggests a Working Group, finds people for the group and, hopefully, gets a go-ahead from RDA centrally. The Group then has 18 months to develop a concrete Output. It can be an application, code, a text document, or a combination of things. Different expert groups will then assess what the Working Group has produced, and if it is endorsed it will be released as an RDA Recommendation for how to manage research data. The Interest Groups take a longer perspective and work with “broader” matters – such as metadata standards or certifications, explains Maggie Hellström.
An important principle for all resources that are developed within the RDA framework is that they are freely available and not tied to specific technical solutions or applications. The idea is for experts from various countries and research fields to come together and negotiate the best recommendations for a large number of areas, such as persistent identifiers, metadata standards, data citations, and certification of data repositories. These recommendations are then followed by the researchers and institutions that adopt them.
SND as a link between RDA and Sweden
―If SND becomes a national node we can be a link between RDA and Sweden. We can unite and communicate the national and international work with open research data and data management in a positive way. We will also have a strengthened mandate when we discuss these matters with, for instance, authorities and funders, explains Maggie Hellström.
In order to function as a national node during one year from June 2019, SND has applied for a grant of €32,400 (approximately SEK 350,000). The grant will be used for various outreach activities. In the pipeline are two large-scale national workshops for researchers and other professionals who manage research data, such as librarians and archivists. A couple of smaller workshops will also be arranged with specific stakeholders from research funding bodies and ministries. The main purpose is to spread Recommendations and Outputs from RDA’s work, and to recruit more members from the Swedish research community to RDA.
―We will also establish information centres in several of the larger higher learning institutes. The goal is to have at least a couple of universities or other stakeholders that decide to work according to some of RDA’s Recommendations, says Maggie Hellström.
The Swedish Research Council and several other Swedish research institutes, such as Cohorts.se, CORS, ICOS, INCF, NBIS/Elixir, SNIC, and UU-IIT, also support SND’s application. A decision on whether the application has been granted is expected as early as the end of May.