Defining, selecting and implementing interoperable and FAIR research data services

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25 Jan 2021

Defining, selecting and implementing interoperable and FAIR research data services

Submitted by Rory Macneil

Meeting objectives: 

This BoF session aims to explore the challenges organisations face when establishing data services, with a specific focus on interoperable services that further FAIR principles.  As the universe of research data services continues to expand, more institutions are looking to procure and deliver multiple services that both further FAIR principles and are interoperable.  Sometimes this develops in an ad hoc fashion, in other cases in connection with an intentionally conceived ‘data commons’.

The exercise of engaging services often occurs in a disjointed fashion, with less-than-ideal communication between different parts of the procuring institution, specifically with IT managers who are often critical to deployment. This miscommunication often results in extra costs and wasted time for both the institution and suppliers, and in unnecessary delays in making services available.

Identifying needs and running tenders is just the start of the process, and many issues arise at the deployment and service delivery phase. There can be a lack of clarity in the specifications or more commonly misunderstandings about roles and responsibilities to implement services. Close collaboration is needed with IT services, who may not have been active in these earlier stages.

The proposed session will examine how three institutions are tackling these issues, including:

  1. Identifying needs and solutions
  • Identifying requirements accurately
  • Market analysis of potential solutions
  • Drafting detailed specifications that support implementation
  • Assessing options and potential routes to engage services
  1. Designing or procuring services
  • Considering self-hosting or partnership models
  • Writing tenders and effectively prioritising needs
  • Effective communications with potential suppliers
  • Managing processes in a way to keep options open
  1. Deployment & delivery
  • Engaging the right institutional stakeholders to deploy
  • Clarity on mutual responsibilities and requirements
  • Business as usual service delivery
  • Enabling inter-operability with other services
Meeting agenda: 

Collaborative meeting notes:


Introduction (10 mins)

3 x case studies (30 mins)

    • Harvard University
    • UiT the Artic University of Norway
    • TU Delft

Service Provider experiences (20 mins)

    • RSpace

Discussion and identification of next steps (30 mins)

Type of Meeting: 
Informative meeting
Short introduction describing any previous activities: 

A co-located workshop was held in conjunction with P16 in Costa Rica exploring issues in Delivering RDM Services and approaches based on procurement, partnerships and open-source business models. For further details see:

Some of the challenges faced in implementing services are reflected in this blog:

Reflections on Delivering RDM Services Workshop 2020: The missing elephant:

Some of the challenges faced by institutions and service providers are reflected on in this blog:

Staying open to open options:

BoF chair serving as contact person: 
Meeting presenters: 
Chair: Sarah, Jones, GEANT (chair); Philipp Conzett, UiT the Arctic University of Norway; Merce Crosas, Harvard University; Marta Teperek, TU Delft; Rory Macneil, Research Space (RSpace); Emma Ganley,
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Contact for group (email):