Call for Supporting and Other Outputs

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11 May 2016

Call for Supporting and Other Outputs


This is a call for all RDA Working and Interest Groups to share what they have produced that they think is broadly useful or informative…

RDA builds the social and technical bridges that enable the open sharing of data.

That’s our mission statement. It’s a good mission statement. It helps us focus on delivering the interconnections that make infrastructure functional, and these interconnections or “bridges” are the outputs that help RDA produce value. They take many forms.

Indeed, the most valuable output of RDA is the human network that we have all created. Time and again, I hear from members how they learned something new, established fruitful relationships, saved time and effort, or just made new friends through the network that is RDA. This is crucial.

Regarding more tangible outputs, however, our focus has been on the formal Recommendations coming from Working Groups. These can be considered our flagship outputs. They have undergone formal phases of discussion, comment, and decision-making, and can be compared to “specifications” or “standards” created and endorsed by other organisations. They are explicitly useful and adopted by organisations working towards implementing a data-sharing infrastructure. They are immediately available as valuable RDA products, but they also undergo a level of close review. This review can take some time, but it results in formally endorsed Recommendations.

These Recommendations are central to the RDA mission, but they are certainly not all that RDA produces.

RDA also produces Supporting Outputs. These are useful solutions produced by our Working and Interest Groups that may not be as clearly adoptable by organisations as our Recommendations. Supporting Outputs may include guidelines, principles, brochures, white papers, or other things that serve to educate and guide rather than directly solve a specific data sharing challenge.  They undergo a community review and are formally recognized and branded as valuable contributions.

Finally, there are all those “Other” Outputs. These are the myriad resources that result from the regular work of Working and Interest Groups. They may include workshop reports, published articles, survey results, etc. They have no implied endorsement from RDA, but they are useful things that the groups would like to share.

This message is a call for Supporting and Other Outputs. If your group has produced something that you would like to share with the broader community, please send it to and indicate whether you would like it to be considered as a ‘Supporting’ or ‘Other’ output. Potential Supporting Outputs will be posted with a request for community review. If there is no significant objection after a month, the Secretariat will then label and promote these Supporting Outputs as RDA endorsed outputs, second only to Recommendations in terms of support and importance. Other Outputs will simply be published as is. They will have no implied endorsement, but they will be generally promoted and made broadly available to the community.

I hope this helps clarify what RDA produces and some of the many ways RDA can promote and amplify group work. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me or any of the Secretariat at See also the RDA website for more information on RDA Recommendations and Outputs.

Thank you all for making RDA the valuable and productive community it is.



Mark A. Parsons
Secretary General, Research Data Alliance
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
 +1 518 410 3808
Skype: mark.a.parsons
mail: 1550 Linden Ave., Boulder CO 80304, USA

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