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13 Jun 2020

Supporting TRUSTworthy Global Impact Through Regional Adoption Strategies


Supporting TRUSTworthy Global Impact Through Regional Adoption Strategies

Laura Wittcoff, Director, Capacity Development, RDA-US interviews
Anthony Juehne, Adoption Manager, RDA-US

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) is a global community-driven organization striving to openly share data across technologies, disciplines and countries to address the grand challenges of society. The RDA regional efforts support and align with RDA global activities; simultaneously, the RDA global activities enhance regional efforts – it’s a true collaboration between the whole and its parts. Each region contributes in impactful ways to fulfilling the mission and vision of RDA Global. One way that the US fully embraces the overarching RDA mission is by adopting and disseminating  RDA outputs locally and then sharing those lessons learned with RDA Global.

Here is what is happening inside the RDA-US in our interview with Adoption Manager and Senior Research Analyst, Anthony Juehne, who is driving adoption and dissemination regionally to support global efforts. 

(LW):  Why is it so important to bring global communities together around adoption of RDA outputs and how do you facilitate that?

(AJ):   The focus of our work is aimed at making RDA outputs more transparent, intelligible, and usable across the research data lifecycle to address societal grand challenges. We need to adequately understand the needs of the RDA global community to support the collaborative development and reuse of outputs and recommendations as well as promote the broad dissemination and implementation of outputs outside of RDA. If the outputs are not broadly disseminated or adopted, we are not fully meeting our collective mission at RDA. We are in the process of integrating these materials and lessons into executive summaries and portfolios of RDA outputs as well as additional activities to support their adoption regionally and globally.

(LW): How do the principles of FAIR and TRUST apply to adopting and disseminating RDA outputs?

(AJ): It’s important that we live by our mission as an organization and facilitate collective learning to inform our practice. By ensuring that our organizational data and processes utilize the FAIR Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and TRUST Principles (Transparency, Responsibility, User focus, Sustainability, and Technology), we are promoting the importance of adopting and disseminating the outputs in ways that are intelligible and useable for others within the RDA network and beyond. The more we can be a model for open sharing of data and processes, the more we hope to influence the impact that these tools and methods will have in positively affecting society’s biggest challenges.

(LW): How is the RDA-US actively facilitating community adoption?

(AJ): We have developed education and communication materials promoting the understanding and use of organizational outputs and recommendations. This approach to education has been tested and expanded through developing, organizing, and leading workshops and lectures focusing on adoption. The aim of this approach is two-fold: 1) Ensuring we understand the broad range of community needs surrounding navigation of the RDA outputs and recommendations; and, 2) Supporting the use of RDA outputs by different audiences, including research funders, students, and researchers across diverse political, geographical, economic, and research backgrounds. In addition to addressing the research data lifecycle of an individual project, we are also preparing workshops and webinars to convey how to implement multiple RDA outputs to meet current broad needs and objectives at the organizational level. These materials are reusable by members of the RDA community within their own regions and activities, and it is our hope they continue to be further tested and extended. Samples of this work include:

To further facilitate ease of use, we are creating executive summaries for each RDA recommendation and output, with an initial roll-out of data management focused summaries coming in June. Our work will complement the Secretariat’s upcoming adoption week and other vital global efforts to support adoption.

(LW): What have you been doing lately to promote adoption within the context of the current COVID-19 crisis?

(AJ): In addition to targeting individual researchers and research institutions, we have broadened our focus to further demonstrate the value of RDA to research funders within our region. For instance, we presented a health-focused webinar to officials and data scientists across NIH program offices, which we aim to expand upon regionally and globally through the RDA-COVID19 WG and additional health-related RDA efforts. Given the COVID pandemic is impacting every aspect of society, in addition to determinants of health outcomes, we recognize the need to draw upon the diversity of expertise throughout RDA and demonstrate to funders the broad value of our community across research domains. In the aim of demonstrating the range of RDA’s value, we previously organized a funders workshop hosted at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in NYC, drawing program officers from governmental funding agencies and NGOs for the purpose of clearly articulating the RDA’s mission, vision, operations, and various RDA outputs. We are utilizing feedback from this experience and are in the process of scheduling additional workshops and webinars to continue this funder engagement. 

Our goal is to provide guidance to individuals and external organizations to partner with RDA surrounding the use, re-use, adoption, and development of RDA outputs and recommendations within their own activities. In light of this goal, we are also developing a consultancy model and currently piloting it with institutions across North America. With these initial projects, we aim to develop program models and guidance for international research leveraging the RDA platform, outputs, and recommendations

(LW): What are you doing to support the development of the technical and social infrastructure of international data sharing and why are both important?

(AJ): Often attention can be overly-focused on crafting the technical solutions to grand data challenges with the social motivations and political capital to implement these solutions left as an afterthought.

To examine both the social and technical dependencies necessary to achieve international implementation of RDA recommendations, outputs, and other aligned solutions to data sharing and interoperability, we have produced an upcoming publication, “A RDA Guide to International Data Research”. This publication could serve as a resource for stakeholders to more effectively navigate challenges to crafting more transparent, equitable, sustainable, and powerful international networks of research practice and data use. 

(LW): Where can we find resources if others would like to utilize this information?

(AJ): Here are some additional links that might be useful:

Previous Adoption-focused plenary BoFs

Education Materials

How to get engaged

We are also developing ways that we can directly support organizations and systems interested in fully implementing and integrating recommendations and outputs that will also support RDA Global sustainability. More on that to come soon.

To learn more about our support for adoption efforts, please feel free to contact us directly: 


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