RDA P14 in Helsinki was my second plenary to participate (after P12), and as lead of our institute's young "Research Data Management Team" I was very curious what news there would be, and which collaborations we could strengthen or build. We were attending as a team of two from LRZ - Leibniz Supercomputing Centre, Garching, Germany - and are currently working on a system to make supercomputing simulation data (which basically cannot be moved anywhere else) FAIR. We presented the design of this system in poster #32 ("Let the Data Sing - A Scalable Architecture to make Data Silos FAIR"). Both of us won RDA Europe travel grants and we have been extremely thankful for this opportunity!
Our arrival day already featured a first highlight, the RDA & Early carreers meeting, where I met e.g. a colleague recommending us a contact in Australia, where a similar infrastructure is developed to the one we envisage. Besides this, I was glad to meet also some expert colleagues again which I had got to know already in Gaborone (P12).
My focus on the first full P14 day, after an interesting session of the Data Usage Metrics IG (actually very useful for specialised data repositories already hosted at LRZ), was certainly on the RIDA BoF session (Repository Interfaces for Data Analytics). This session, co chaired by G. Greene from NIST and my LRZ colleague A. Götz, had a nice workshop-like concept with the aim of understanding if the foundation of a WG on the topic would make sense, and what topics should be covered by such a WG. With e.g. Jupyter Notebooks gaining momentum as a platform for research (cf. also Computational Notebooks BoF), standardised interfaces for efficiently accessing data in repositories will play a strategic role. If the WG forms, I'm definitely in.
On Oct 24, my focus was on the RDARI (Research Data Architectures in Research Institutions) IG, where we are "long-term members" already. I gave a little talk on our "rdmuc" collaboration with other Munich institutions active in Research Data Management (right now the libraries of University and Technical University, and the Bavarian State Library). This talk featured news from all partners, a report on first outputs on standards harmonisation in Munich (e.g. common usage rules for DataCite fields), and finally focused on first sensitive-data projects and respective infrastructure at LRZ. Discussing the latter topic, also being the main theme of the session, it turned out that most instutitions are just beginning to tackle the handling of sensitive data, and exploring "sandboxing" or "safe haven" approaches. Further synchronisation on developments will for sure happen in the group, which will be of great help when handling e.g. EU GDPR issues and other ethical aspects of these data, while offering sound solutions.
In addition, we advertised the RDARI IG survey on research data infrastructures. This survey has the aim of obtaining an overview of typical sizes, architectures, technical details, and especially governance issues of international research data repositories. It will be a basis for next RDARI activities such as spawning WGs or developing outputs.
I finalised my attendence with another highlight being the "Metadata for FAIR Data" joint meeting, which was very important for me, as we - being a general-purpose computing centre - have to offer a basic common-grounds metadata treatment for all scientific disciplines. This, clearly, has to fulfil basic requirements for FAIR. It was interesting to hear details on the interpretation on the "rich metadata" requirement in the FAIR principles, and on criteria for metadata "FAIRness".
Besides meeting international experts and colleagues, this large meeting also was even an opportunity to meet local collaeagues. We now have plans for future, extended collaboration with many of the colleagues mentioned already above. This may also be useful in the context of our envisaged adoption of RDA outputs and recommendation. We had a deeper look on this topic, and are - for the design of our research data management framework - considering to take into account e.g. the recommendations "FAIRsharing: standards, databases, repositories and policies" and "Research Data Interoperability WG Final Recommendations" as well as the outputs "Research Data Repository Interoperability Primer" and "Matrix of use cases and functional requirements for research data repository platforms".
We are looking forward to an interesting and, for sure, pleasant year in terms of collaborations, projects and the adoption of RDA outputs and recommendations, and will be happy to report on the outcomes at one of the next plenaries.