Updates from the fair island project: RDA Virtual plenary recap

by | Dec 16, 2020 | News

The Research Data Alliance held the Virtual 16th Plenary November 9-12, 2020. The RDA Virtual 16th plenary was a success with 697 attendees, over 100 sessions and 40+ posters. It provided the needed forum for the global data community to come together, connect around ongoing research data management activities and socially, despite the challenges of time zones. A few members of the FAIR Island project were present and below are a few highlights of how our work was showcased at RDA:  

Persistent Identifiers 

On November 9, Maria Praetzellis (CDL), shared progress on the DMPTool in her session, PIDs Joining up the World.  Maria shared that the DMPTool responded to the NSF recommendation for machine actionable DMPs and had implemented PIDs including ORCID, ROR, and DOIs. Maria referenced the report, “Implementing Effective Data Practices: Stakeholder Recommendations for Collaborative Research Support,” which  provided key recommendations for effective data practices to support a more open research ecosystem and focused on using PIDs and machine-actionable DMPs.. By using PIDs, research outputs  will be linked to the DMP through the life of the project and the PIDGraph will be able to visualize these links.  Our project will implement PIDs through our use of the DMPTool and we will show the value of PIDs through PIDGraph visualizations to show the value of linking research objects together. Utilizing PIDs allows information within a DMP to be fed across stakeholders, linking metadata, repositories and institutions, and allowing for notifications and verification, reporting in real-time.

Machine-actionable DMP Common Standards 

On November 12, the DMPTool team presented at the DMP Common Standard working group session: Machine-actionable DMPs – tell us your story! In this presentation, Maria highlighted the implementation of the RDA Common DMP Standard in the DMPTool.  Researchers that work with us on the FAIR Island project will benefit from these recommendations and standards being built into the DMPTool, as this integration allows for the transfer of DMP metadata between systems. In the case of FAIR Island this will allow for information to be passed from the UCNRS RAMS into the DMPTool. A principal goal of this integration is to reduce the burden on researchers by generating automated updates to a plan and facilitating seamless integration with systems and groups that support research.The DMPTool is a key.  


On November 9, Neil Davies, Executive Director University of California Gump South Pacific Research Station, presented on the iSamples work in the Samples IG session “Toward a global and multi-disciplinary network of FAIR physical samples” chaired by Kerstin Lehnert. Internet of Samples (iSamples) is a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional project funded by the National Science Foundation. This group hopes to bring together several sample-collecting disciplines, collaborating with the FAIR Island project, to identify essential metadata needed for reuse across domains and to demonstrate the benefits of applying best-practice in data stewardship with respect to samples.  It is ambitious and the goal is to include disciplines like archeology, geoscience, and biology. FAIR Island can help prototyping this emerging infrastructure for researchers to maximize the value of their material samples.   

Further work through RDA

RDA-US has recently received NSF funding for “Conceptualizing an Interdisciplinary Research Framework for Strengthening Community Impact and Advancing an Innovation Platform.” The objectives of the proposal are to further the work of the US office by: 

  1. Implementing a program for RDA group chairs to share strategies and tactics for building better connections across groups.  
  2. Developing education and training initiatives to increase the awareness and understanding of RDA outputs to promote broader adoption by those outside the RDA community.  

The FAIR Island Project offers a unique opportunity to support the second goal because the project offers a real-world, controlled environment to test RDA outputs and promote broader adoption by the research community. One early example of this is the machine-actionable data management plans (maDMPs) common standard metadata application profile. We are looking forward to analyzing and reporting back at future RDA plenaries, the downstream effects of these policies in the resulting release of data.  Side note: The call for RDA P17 sessions and side events is out for the next meeting in April 2021.