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Communities of Practice (CoPs) undergo a formal review before they are recognised and endorsed by the Research Data Alliance. The review process comprises the following steps:

Step 1: Submission of Agreement

At least three co-chairs write and send an Agreement to the Secretariat.


Community of Practice Agreement Development

Step 2: Community Review

The Agreement undergoes Community Review for six weeks. All members of the RDA community, including the Organisational Advisory Board (OAB) and Regional Advisory Board (RAB), are invited to comment. Simultaneously, two members of the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) review the Agreement according to the following criteria:


1. Focus and fit: The CoP must be aligned with RDA’s mission and vision. The scope must be appropriate for the RDA; not too large for effective progress or too small for an RDA effort. The effort must add value over and above what is currently being achieved by the RDA community.


2. Capacity: The initial membership list must include sufficient expertise, plus disciplinary and international representation. The CoP should comprise members from diverse organisations and key stakeholders should provide letters of support.


3. Impact and Engagement: The Agreement should provide evidence that the CoP will engage the intended research community, and that it’s activities, and Recommendations and Outputs will foster data sharing and reuse within the discipline.


The TAB review will come to one of three conclusions: the Agreement is sufficient, requires revision, or is rejected. Depending on the conclusion, another revision of the Agreement may be in order. This cycle may need to be repeated.

Step 3: Agreement Revision

The CoP co-chairs and writing team addresses all Community and TAB review comments, and provides the revised Agreement to the Secretariat within two weeks.

Step 4: Council Review

The Secretariat prepares the review package for Council which includes the Agreement, letters of support, community comments, TAB review, and the OAB and RAB commentary received within one week.


The Council then reviews the Agreement in consultation with TAB for two weeks. The Council will come to one of four conclusions:


1. Recognised and endorsed as is with strong Agreement: The CoP is recognised and endorsed and should commence work.


  • 2. Recognised and endorsed subject to specific revisions: CoP concept changes need to be made to strengthen the Agreement and meet approval criteria. After the revisions are made, the CoP is endorsed, and the RDA and commence its work.
  • 3. Encouraged but not presently endorsed: CoP concept and Agreement needs refinement before approval. The Council (via Secretariat) will provide specific feedback and clarification on what is needed.
  • 4. Not endorsed: The CoP is not a good fit for the RDA or does not meet other criteria for approval. The Council will provide specific feedback and clarification.


Step 5: Approval

Any revisions must be completed and the cycle repeated until the Council is satisfied with the Agreement.


Upon approval, the Secretariat will help the CoP with its working, communication and recording processes. Joint activities with the RDA Organisational and Affiliate members are encouraged.