GORC IG: Typology and Definitions


GORC IG: Typology and Definitions

By Bridget Walker


Group co-chairs:  Andrew TreloarSarah JonesDevika MadalliMark LeggottJavier Lopez Albacete

Supporting Output title: GORC IG: Typology and Definitions

Authors:  Sarah Jones, Mark Leggott, Javier Lopez Albacete, Devika Madalli, Corina Pascu, Karen Payne, Michel Schouppe, Andrew Treloar

Impact: The need for coordination of data infrastructure on various levels (country, continent, discipline, sector) arises from the emergence of so called “Open Science Commons” or “Data commons”, which provide a shared virtual space or platform that presents the researcher with a marketplace for data and services. Examples include the European Open Science Cloud, the Australian Research Data Commons, the African Open Science Platform, open government portals and a range of initiatives outside traditional research contexts. Coordinating across these initiatives to enable a global network of interoperable data commons is the goal. This output is a significant step towards agreeing on a shared understanding of what a “Commons” is in the research data space and what functionality, coverage and characteristics such an initiative requires. 

Contribution to United Nations SDGs: This output contributes directly to SDG Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) and indirectly to all of the other Goals by strengthening the research environments which researchers are using to address those goals.

DOI: 10.15497/RDA00087

Citation: Jones, S., Leggott, M., Lopez Albacete, J., Madalli, D., Pascu, C., Payne, K., Schouppe, M., & Treloar, A. (2023). GORC IG: Typology and Definitions (Version 1.01). Research Data Alliance. https://doi.org/10.15497/RDA00087


This output describes a typology of the essential elements in a Commons. In developing this typology, the IG identified the need to also provide a set of definitions for each of the typology elements. This document is the formal statement of this typology with the associated definitions. The typology has arisen from careful discussions within the Interest Group and a process of consultation and refinement at RDA Plenaries over the last 4 years. The definitions are current as of early 2023. As this field evolves, the definitions and typology may need to be revisited.


Licence: CC-BY 4.0 International

Output Status: 
RDA Supporting Outputs
Review period start: 
Wednesday, 17 May, 2023 to Saturday, 17 June, 2023
Group content visibility: 
Public - accessible to all site users
Primary WG Focus / Output focus: 
Domain Agnostic: 
Domain Agnostic
  • Francoise Genova's picture

    Author: Francoise Genova

    Date: 14 Jun, 2023

    Dear all,

    Many thanks for the document. Building a common language is an indispensible first step, and it is good that you provide is a concise but rich document, which certainly required lots of efforts.

    A handful of comments with in mind the current work on the GORC Model (on topics I have been involved in):

    - Sustainability: for me sustainability is not only about resources and funding, It also includes to define and maintain a strategy for sustainability, e.g. define and develop the technical and organisational aspects with sustainability in mind, not limited to the procurement of resources.

    - Interoperability: I would add 'discoverability' among the capacities enabled by interoperability, even if it is properly said that that they are not limited to the two which are currently cited.

    - Research object: when working on the standards in the relevant GORC TG we would like to be able to extend the concept of 'research object' to e.g. the instruments used to perform the observations used in the research (it would enable for instance to include straighforwardly the instruments among the items which may have a PID). For an astronomer, an instrument is a research object indeed, even in the data context.

    Thanks again for the difficult and useful work summarized in the document.



  • Francis P. Crawley's picture

    Author: Francis P. Crawley

    Date: 17 Jun, 2023

    Thank you to the members of the GORC IG for the opportunity to comment on the 'GORG Interest Group: Typology and Definitions' (Version 0.9.1, May 17, 2023). The work presented here by the authors and supporting members of the GORC IG is valuable and appreciated. By examining a variety of leading platforms and categorizing the findings on data infrastructure across these open commons, the IG has identified an important area needing to be explored and defined for research, science and, eventually, society more broadly. In focusing on general characteristics and functionalities of what makes these commons work and eventually interact efficiently, the WG has engaged the important work of developing a typology that will better assist digital research communities in developing and interacting with data commons within and across platforms and settings.

    Some general thoughts on the typology for perhaps further consideration:

    1. Care should be taken to ensure a human-centric approach. This includes a clear distinction between core data processing elements and core human infrastructure elements. As part of this consideration, this typology appears to lack consideration/awareness of the critical roles played by law and ethics in digital research commons. These are two considerations needed here and under 2. below.
    2. The element of ‘setting’ or ‘context’ might be included as it is determinative for values, provenance, and intended uses.
    3. The element ‘interoperability’ could perhaps be better categorized and defined. An additional element of ‘interconnectedness’ could be added to support the interest in relations between and cooperation among various digital research commons.
    4. Françoise Genova’s indication in the RDA comment above on ‘instruments’ should be addressed, with an indication that 'instruments' should be considered as an essential element of a typology of commons, even if you do not intend to include instruments as an object of study for this IG, this typology. It is of importance for science and society that we are aware of the inherent role and impact of instruments in the (digital) measurements and descriptions we provide of phenomena.
    5. You do not describe the element of ‘quality’ (‘reliability’, ‘integrity’) of data, tools, or systems. Providing only a formal listing in your typology of categories and definitions does not provide a sufficient basis for utility, trustworthiness, or (eventually) the ‘the common good’ you seek to serve. This may also hinder the operationalization of this important work.

    Included in the attached document are specific considerations in track changes (lost the uploading process) and comments. They are not intended to be (and are likely not) correct. Rather they wish to contribute to the excellent discussion within the IG and the RDA community on this important work.

    With appreciation, Francis


  • Andrew Treloar's picture

    Author: Andrew Treloar

    Date: 25 Jun, 2023

    Thank you both for your very insightful and useful comments. The GORC-IG Chairs will aim to respond by mid-July, once some other urgent tasks are addressed.

  • Andrew Treloar's picture

    Author: Andrew Treloar

    Date: 26 Jul, 2023

    My thanks to those who took the time to make comments on this supporting output. While we were not able to accommodate all of the comments received, most of them are now visible in the updated document, which is significantly improved as a result. I have also provided a document that states how we responded, in the interest of transparency and attribution. The updated supporting output document will now be uploaded to Zenodo by the Secretariat. I will add the DOI (once received) to this comment thread.

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