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31 Jul 2019

The Greek effect in enhancing RDA outputs adoption

On July 3, the Greek RDA Node, Athena Research Centre (ARC), organised a Workshop on RDA Outputs and Adoption to inform the Greek scientific community about the outcomes of RDA group activities and to provide useful instructions on how these outcomes could be applied by them to improve existing services, tools and workflows. The workshop was held at ARC premises in Athens and was remotely available for everyone willing to participate. 


Fotis Karayannis, RDA secretariat - RDA Greece National Node coordinator, initiated the workshop by welcoming the invited speaker and “RDA outputs expert” Anthony Juehne, Researcher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY and RDA-US personnel. Fotis’ presentation preceded Anthony’s to introduce the mission and goals of the Research Data Alliance and to explain the connection between RDA Global, which can also be described as an international research data forum, and RDA Europe, the European constituent of the global RDA effort aiming to support European and national RDA uptake, among others through its national nodes network. 



Amongst RDA Europe actions are the embedding of best practices in national research settings and influencing policy making around Research Data Management (RDM). For the latter, it was announced that next steps in Greece include boosting HELIX, the Hellenic Data Service, compliance with open and FAIR research data practices, as well as contributing to formulating a bottom-up National Open Science Task Force that will work in collaboratively developing and proposing a National Open Science Strategy

Anthony then continued by giving a brief overview of the RDA outputs while highlighting their potential application and use. He touched upon FAIR principles to express how everyone's contributions are necessary in integrating them in both publications and workflows to achieve a FAIR research ecosystem. In order to ease comprehension of the outputs, he based his presentation on the data management lifecycle and located the outputs by the different stages that they can be found.

The categorisation and the outputs explained has as follows:


  • Data Management support: 

    • 23 Things guide to assist librarians in incorporating RDM in their practices.

    • DMP Common Standards for developing a common information model with access mechanisms that make DMPs machine-actionable.

  • Collecting Data: 

    • Eleven Quick Tips for Finding Research Data: for data creators to know the steps that will increase discoverability of data they produce and share and for data seekers to be able to locate and successfully retrieve data.

    • Dynamic Data Citation: simple and useful identification mechanism that allows precise identification and citation of arbitrary data and the ability to recreate and rerun the exact same data

    • Reproducible Workflows for Data Services Centers: targeting health data to improve their reuse through curation and brokerage solutions, such as Linking and describing cohort collection files, Mapping Ontologies, Vocabularies, and Standards.

  • Describe Data:

    • Metadata Standards Directory: indexing metadata standards of all disciplines for researchers to consult and select which would describe their data better according to their scientific field and/or particular needs.

    • Data Type Registries: for wider understandability of details and assumptions through improved data typing and for the deployment of registries based on a model (including packages, classes and properties) that can be tested against various use cases.

    • Array Database Assessment: providing an in-depth comparison of concepts, standards, implementations of different Array Databases that facilitate users selection and proposes new features for developers to consider.

    • Metadata for physical and digital collections stewardship: aiming to develop a metadata schema for giving attribution for maintenance, curation, and digitization of collections that will be adopted by stewards of collections and aggregators of professional research metrics.

    • Wheat Data Interoperability Guidelines: for  best practices, tools, recommendations, including ontologies and vocabularies, and examples to create, manage and share data related to Wheat. 

    • Brokering Governance: addresses the governance of the brokering middleware and interconnects existing international e-infrastructures.

  • Identify, Store, Preserve & Link: 

    • Data Foundation & Terminology: Basic Vocabulary of Foundational Terminology Query Tool, aiming at enabling the verification of data identity and integrity

    • PID Information Type Registry: including a conceptual model for structuring typed information, an application programming interface (API) for access to typed information and a demonstrator implementing the interface. 

    • PID Kernel Information: principles to guide in the identification of information suitable for inclusion in the PID record and creation of PID Kernel Profiles with information contained in a PID record. 

    • Robust Persistent Identifiers Project (RPID): which encounters and tries to resolve the issue of having too much inconsistent protocols for getting from PID to data object.

  • Disseminate, Share, & Find:


The second half of the day unfolded in an interactive session of roundtable discussions and online polls that helped to build a better understanding of the Greek scientific community needs and of the usability of RDA outputs by diverse research communities. Moreover, the discussions focused on two main issues: 

  1. Getting feedback on the constraints leading to the lack of RDA output adoption, as  observed within the Greek research area. 

The main factors, according to the audience, are limited information and guidance on that topic, implementation costs and difficulty in seeing the importance of accepting and following the cultural shift towards FAIR data in a more universal way in their domain.

One of the most significant challenges that the Greek researchers are facing lies in the diversity of metadata standards. The paradigm of a language resources infrastructure was explained mentioning that such infrastructure hosts language resources that come from different domains. These domains have well-established and broadly used metadata standards which have to be combined. Specifically, these are metadata that describe linguistic resources, metadata that refer to language resources from the SSH area and yet other metadata standards that are used in the Digital Humanities. It would help if there was a minimum set of requirements for the combination of those metadata standards. 

Another challenge is data citation, which is a relatively new concept which has to be better understood by the research infrastructures before building the mechanisms to implement data citations in a dynamic way.


  1. Brainstorming on new ways that RDA Global could provide support. 

At the end of the workshop, it was recognised that in order for RDA to effectively support all stakeholders, i.e. an organization, a research centre, a repository or an individual researcher to comply with the FAIR principles, it is necessary to take complementary actions. A “recipe” on how to adopt the outputs, including specific steps to follow or code to embed, would be a good start in moving from the level of principles to the level of actual implementation. Possible “pathways” for different communities or organisations adopting outputs was also  mentioned. Furthermore, the creation of RDA support teams (such as helpdesks) that promote successful adoption stories and support information exchange and implementation of adoption processes, was suggested and endorsed by the majority of the audience. Around 60 researchers were present physically and remotely.


Slides and recordings of the workshop can be found here.


To learn more about the Greek RDA Node and how to get involved in RDA, visit the RDA in Greece page.


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