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25 Apr 2019

RDA P13 - Networking, IG Research Data Management in Engineering and DMP as an important topic

RDA P13 in Philadelphia, USA was very exciting with more than 400 participants and 8 breakouts with each 7 to 8 parallel sessions.

I hereby would like to focus on two topics:

  1. the session IG Research data management in engineering  
  2. the sessions on DMPs


  1. Session IG Research data management in engineering

The session took place in breakout 3. Paula Martinez-Lavanchy, Jonathan Petters, Nikola Vasiljevic and me chaired the session. Around 20 people participated the session - 5 researchers, 3 from industry, 10 from libraries, 7 research data providers, 2 funder reps. 10 participants are still active in other RDA groups.

The IG is not yet endorsed, so one aim of the session was to get input from the participants about the charter and the revision notes from the TAB.

We started the session with a brief introduction of the charter. Followed by the presentation of CESEAR surveys that showed, among other things, that software code is sometimes considered more valuable than the data itself. On this occasion, the use case “Coding base and Project Data” was developed as an example. Git Hub/ Git Lab play a key role here. Jonathan Petters described another use case “Privacy and Security in Engineering Data Management” which is a really important topic in the engineering community. Finally, Nikola Vasiljevic reported about his work “Wind Energy going FAIR”.  In 2018 Findable and Accessible were successfully implemented by developing Wind Energy metadata standards and adopting DTU Data publishing platform as well as by publishing the metadata through the DTU Data platform.

After the presentation we had a fruitful discussion about topics like FAIR which does not mean open or the gap between academia and industry. In the last 30 minutes of the session we did a group work joining 3 to 6 people a group. We reworded the TAB comments into questions, so every group was free to pick a question and work on it. All the result were recorded in the meeting notes.


  1. Session on DMPs

At P13 were three different session on DMPs which shows the importants of this topic. Starting with the working group sessions DMP Common Standards: DMP Common Model and New Pilots in Breakout 1 where the co-chairs presented the status of the Common Standard Model and use cases like Data Cite, Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin and Technical University Wien reported about their ideas and work.

In the session, Exposing Data Management Plans: Situating Plans in the Data Management Action in Breakout 2 were the results of the needs assessment and survey presented which was piloted at P12 and open for responses from Jan 9 – March 27 2019. They received 571 responses, of which 409 were complete. Most responses came from researchers, data managers and librarians of which only 30% are already RDA members. Interesting were the answers that scientists alone are entitled to share the DMP and that many researchers still have reservations about releasing their data. One of the outputs of the survey for the group is to create a reference model including strategies for (FAIR) exposing plans.

Last but not least were the interest group session Active Data Management Plans in Breakout 4 in which the DMP Common Standard Model were presented and discussed. Two of the key principles are that it could be extended and that most fields are optional and generic. DMPs could be connected to unlimited projects and can have one or more datasets. Example for this could be found in the github repository. Also the WG Exposing DMPs presented their survey and the results. The WG has six more months to run and they want to interview survey respondents and others with experience of exchanging DMPs and present case studies.

The two presentations were followed by a discussion on DMP priorities and continuation of WGs/ need of new WGs.

The common features of all three sessions were that DMPs must be understood as a living document and must be integrated into the research process to add value to the researcher. In order to solve this, further efforts are needed on a wide variety of sites.

To summarize, P13 has been very helpful to me and my work. I get to know many people and had really great discussions about my work on DMPs which I presented on a poster. I took home that there are many tools for DMPs with different priorities, but to make a DMP a useful tool for the researchers we must change our point of view. Without the early career grant I would joint P13 without a poster and as I know it now, I would not have met so many people and would not have been so involved in P13.

Going to sessions, I was put on as an early career, makes the contact to the chairs easy. So I am now active in two more groups and enjoy the exchange and help from the other members/ chairs.

I also joint the early career session and I learned that there are a lot of early careers which are in the same situation that I am and at the plenary session I learned that only a minority knows exactly how RDA is running. This makes it much easier to attend.

Another thing I was impressed about were the social events. Some were organized only for the grant winners like having lunch together as well as dinner. We had a delicious Philly Cheese Steak and a lot of fun. Thanks Devan! In addition, the social dinner made an impression on me.

However, not only at the social events you get to know people also at lunchtime. It is quite a bit relaxing time during the session and you are talking about topics outside RDA. All the time is good for networking, use the time and enjoy it.


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