About the Australian Research Data Commons
The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) was formed by the Australian Government in July 2018 through the merger of three existing National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) eInfrastructure capabilities (the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (Nectar) and Research Data Services (RDS)) with the vision of “transforming digital infrastructure to support leading edge research and innovation”.
The last decade of investment by the Australian Government supported a number of truly globally innovative eResearch activities including national approaches to data, compute, and collections storage, identified a rationale for national capability around quality of data, data and software skills, democratised high quality platforms, and established robust data collection. The ARDC is now able to embark on the next generation of transformational activity for the eResearch sector.
The ARDC will deliver a step change in sector capabilities to complement and build on those successes, ensuring resources, skills, people, and workflows are discoverable, interoperable and accessible to all researchers, are sustainable and robust, and provide access to the necessary skills and workforce development programs to enable competitive and high impact Australian research.
Building on the achievements of its three predecessor capabilities, ARDC is uniquely positioned to drive collaboration with partners sector-wide, nationally, and internationally to develop a coherent and collaborative national research data commons for the benefit of all Australian researchers.
The ARDC organisation will, working in concert with others, deliver the Australian Research Data Commons, which brings together people, data, skills, and resources to enable researchers to conduct world class data-intensive research. The commons, potentially made up of component commons revolving around domains, data types, or other priorities, will be a transformational change in the research data ecosystem, increasing the coherence and interoperability of existing investments and thereby increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the system for researchers and producing more impactful outcomes for the nation. By enabling increasing numbers of researchers and communities to engage with the resources and capabilities a commons delivers, a transformational change in research capability and impact can be achieved.
The ARDC & RDA
One of the ARDC's predecessor organisations, the Australian National Data Service, was jointly responsible for the founding of the RDA, and has remained deeply involved ever since. The ARDC plans to continue its direct and indirect support for the RDA because of its key role in enabling communities to reduce barriers to data interoperability. Building a data commons requires the socio-technical infrastructure elements that the RDA is enabling, and Australia's involvement in the RDA provides an excellent channel for Australians to contribute to the development of solutions and also to adopt/adapt solutions for use in Australia.