The RDA’s Interest Group on Legal Interoperability met for three sessions on Thursday, March 27, during the RDA’s 3rd Plenary in Dublin. All the sessions - attended by over 30 people - were chaired by Paul Uhlir from the National Academy of Science in Washington and Yours Truly had the honor of being the meeting’s rapporteur. The goal of the meeting - to bring together lawyers, managers and researchers from different fields - was fulfilled.
The Interest Group’s aim is to include several case studies in its final report. Initially the number of such case studies was settled at four, but due to big interest expressed by different members of the group, it was finally extended. The Dublin meeting was devoted to presentations of the projects to be included as case studies for the final report. Each presentation was meant to contain information concerning five areas (determined by the group’s co-chairs: Bob Chen, Enrique Alonso Garcia and Paul Uhlir):
The legal frameworks and specific policies (or lack of them) governing different types of research data important to a specific scientific domain or problem area important to each case study.
The perceived barriers to data sharing or interoperability and perceived needs for increased interoperability that spurred interest and investment in new legal interoperability approaches.
A description of any effective legal interoperability processes, techniques and institutions that have been developed or adopted to overcome the barriers that have been identified.
The stakeholders involved in developing, testing, and implementing legal interoperability approaches and their roles, level of engagement and investment, and impact.
Progress to date in implementing legal interoperability approaches, including identification of criteria or metrics used to assess success or impact, use of technology or other mechanisms to promote adoption, and estimates of funding and other resources provided to support implementation.
Finally, a total number of 8 projects was presented during the Dublin meeting:
#1 CLARIN ERIC (language resources and technology)
#2 Plazi (text mining of data for taxonomy)
#3 CReATIVE-B (biodiversity data)
#4 iMarine (biophysical ocean data)
#5 All-Island Research Observatory (spatial data for evidence and planning in Ireland)
#6 Digital Repository of Ireland (interactive repository for contemporary and historical data in the humanities and social sciences)
#7 Cybercartographic Atlases (the legal and policy aspects of digital cartography)
#8 The Polar Research Commons (data from the International Polar Year)
The presentations revealed that legal issues concerning data in different domains are in fact similar; it also confirmed that some legal systems (e.g. the Swiss one) are more favorable to the creation of data infrastructures than others due to more robust copyright exceptions and less strict (or nonexistent) personal data protection laws.
During the final debate, a possibility of adding another questions to the case studies was discussed, such as the level of legal information available in the community or possible public-private partnerships. The case studies will be presented and further discussed during the Amsterdam plenary in September.
After publishing the report, the next aim of the Group is to be transformed into a Working Group which would then be able to adopt best practice guidelines for dealing with legal interoperability issues.