Data makes the difference - This was the topic of the RDA 14th plenary meeting in Helsinki. For me as an early career grantee it was my first participation in a RDA event, as well as my first journey to the beautiful country of Finland.
It was a really dense program with 7-8 parallel breakout sessions from working groups, interest groups but also birds of a feather meetings. It was sometimes hard to decide which one of the interesting sessions you want to join.
As part of the early career grant program, I participated in the Early Career and Engagement: Building a Flexible and Inclusive to all Data Mentoring Programme interest group, where I learned about how to get involved with RDA as a newcomer. In addition, I became part of the mentor/mentee programme which is a great opportunity for people that recently started to work with research data to get involved in a network of experts and other newcomers.
In addition, I helped in the Sharing Rewards and Credit (SHARC) IG FAIRSharing Registry: The Challenging FAIRisation Route: How Could Assignment Help? FAIR Data Maturity Model WG Joint meeting to take notes and pictures of the discussion sessions. It was very interesting to discuss about the challenges, e.g. if all data should be FAIRified, which stakeholders are involved to prepare researchers for making their data FAIR and how we could implement standards for reporting and sharing data. There was no joint solution for these issues, however, it is obvious that we need clearer regulations.
The last session I joined was the Integration of Research Communities from Remote Areas in Ethiopia and Neighbouring Countries BoF meeting. It was a great presentation of Paolo Budroni and Magareth Gfrerer about the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) as a process and an approach to an African Open Science Cloud (AOSC). It was very exciting to learn about the complementarity of the ASOC towards the EOSC.
After those three days, I had the impression that the meeting was highly productive. Although it was my first meeting, I joined different groups to get involved in future RDA activities, such as a writing sprint for a FAIR cookbook, professionalization of data stewardship within RDA and the SHARC IG. It is unbelievable how much you can learn and how many interesting people you can get to know in such a short time.
The opening, as well as the reception and the social dinner was accompanied with local music and I got to know the finnish sense of humour – awesome!! Not only the reception on Wednesday and the social event on Thursday were a great opportunity to get to know people, also lunch and coffee breaks lead to fruitful discussions with interesting people in RDA.
Therefore, the participation in the RDA 14th plenary in Helsinki was truly enriching and hopefully only the last of many I’d like to attend. I came away with more knowledge, new ideas for projects/involvement in interest or working groups and great connections to researchers interested in all different aspects of research data.