In December 2018, RDA Europe issued an open call for projects adopting outputs from the RDA’s various Working and Interest Groups. Following recommendations from external evaluators, eight funding grants were awarded in April 2019. This blog series will introduce the eight Adoption Grant cases, giving an overview of their project remits and demonstrating the practical approaches organisations can take when looking to implement the RDA’s Recommendations & Outputs.
One of the goals of the RDA Europe 4.0 project is to spread the word of open science best practices throughout the European research community. In countries where research data management (RDM) procedures are already relatively well established, work is often focused on bolstering existing procedures and strengthening the connections between researchers, data stewards, funders, and policy makers. However, not all countries are as advanced in certain aspects of RDM, especially when it comes to synchronised national policies.
A joint-bid by the University of Debrecen and Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (LIC-HAS) has been awarded an RDA adoption grant with precisely this in mind - to employ RDA Recommendations in evaluating the already existing data repositories in the country and establishing a standardised approach to managing research data workflows. Overall, this project aims to assess national repositories with a view to providing certification, while at the same time forming a basis for a national data publishing policy for researchers in light of repository requirements.
What’s at stake?
As the applicants make clear, there is a recognition amongst researchers in Hungarian institutions of the benefits of open and shared data; for instance, one of the applicant institutions, the University of Debrecen, provides the technological infrastructure for HUNOR, the consortium for Hungarian Open Access Repositories, which has been established to advance open access practices in the country. The issue that this project will address, in essence, concerns the level of coordination and collaboration when it comes to data curation in the country.
Data curation practices in Hungary are often dictated at institutional, discipline, or even research group-level, with data repositories serving their own institutions. As stated in a 2013 HUNOR report on the state of cooperation between institutions: “Certain groups of the Hungarian research community are aware of open access and its benefits, but they are still reluctant to provide open access to their publications.” This reluctance, in combination to the heterogeneous methods of data publication and varying metadata standards in Hungary, have an impact on the interoperability and overall openness of data at intra-institutional and international levels.
A dual approach
This project sets out to adopt two RDA Recommendations: Repository Audit and Certification Catalogues from the Repository Audit and Certification DSA–WDS Partnership Working Group, along with Workflows for Research Data Publishing: Models and Key Components from the RDA/WDS Publishing Data Workflows Working Group. As such, the project aims to tackle the issues identified above on two fronts:
In implementing the first Recommendation, the project team will evaluate the existing repositories in Hungary and establish an evaluation protocol specific to the country’s needs, based on the steps outlined in the Recommendation. Repositories will also be encouraged to work towards the CoreTrustSeal Data Repository certification.
The aim in implementing the second Recommendation is to put in place a clear procedure for researchers involved in the curation of data. This is done very much with European funding requirements in mind, as the methods in place at institutional, discipline, and research-group level can be at the risk of falling short of funder specifications.
This two-pronged approach aims to coordinate RDM procedures in all Hungarian institutions and bring the country in line with international research data stewardship best practices.
Adopting two recommendations as part of one project can bring about further additional advantages. One of the benefits of a joint-adoption like this will be to show how multiple Recommendations can complement one another when introduced in concert. Concurrent adoptions can also throw into relief the benefits that one RDA Recommendation can bring in light of the issues addressed by the other. For example, this project will demonstrate how the criteria employed by repositories for storage can influence the nature of data description in the data publishing workflow.
Activities and actions
Translation of some key documents will be among the first steps to be taken by the project coordinators. Specifically, both the CoreTrustSeal certification and the Workflows for Research Data Publishing Recommendation will be translated into Hungarian, led by LIC-HAS and University of Debrecen, respectively. In a similar vein, English and Hungarian-language updates will be made to the openscience.hu and openaccess.mtak.hu websites, giving bilingual information on the project’s achievements.
Certification of three existing repositories will start with Research Documentation Centre (RDC) at the Centre for Social Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Science. This process will serve as a guide for the other repositories at the TÁRKI Social Research Institute Data Archive and the HunCLARIN research infrastructure, as well as informing the establishment of new repositories at the University of Debrecen and LIC-HAS. It is intended that, in establishing these newly planned repositories, the revised data publishing workflow procedure will be tested thoroughly, with the adoption process highlighting any issues that may not become apparent when the focus is on the already existing repositories.
National and international coordination
The RDA Adoption Grant comes at an opportune time for the project, with an RDA National Node recently established in Hungary. As the main focus of the adoption is on nation-wide procedures, this will give the project the advantage of having a pool of motivated researchers and data practitioners already working towards the goal of increasing the openness of data and fostering sharing practices. Working alongside the national node will also serve to connect the project to the international RDA community, with the national nodes focused as much on the international community as strengthening national coordination.