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RDA Group Chairs Roles and Responsibilities

Group Chairs are responsible for initiating the formation of their Groups and leading their members in delivering specific outputs that directly enable data sharing, exchange, or interoperability.

The RDA requires a minimum of two, no more than four, co-chairs from at least two continents to take primary responsibility of the quality, scope, timeliness, and usefulness of the work of the WG or IG. In the case of CoPs, a minimum of two co-chairs from three continents is required. While groups can establish their decision-making processes, the RDA does not require “lead” chairs; all co-chairs hold equal status.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Chairs maintain an efficient organisational structure, ensure adherence to RDA Guiding Principles, and undertake administrative tasks essential for group operation.

For RDA IGs and CoPs, the RDA recommends rotational changes among co-chairs to balance continuity and fresh perspectives. The group can determine its chair succession mechanisms, but the RDA recommends the use of secure RDA Web forms if the group wishes to hold an election for new co-chairs. Please contact the RDA Secretariat ( to set up a Web form.

In case the chairs of a Group change for any reason, including due to an election, please notify with all remaining, all outgoing and incoming chairs cc’d.
Role descriptions are categorised below by phases in the Group lifecycle. Group chairs and members are encouraged to contact the Secretariat ( if they have any questions or comments, or need assistance, throughout the lifespan of their group.

Recruiting Group Members

Ensure membership represents at least 2, but preferably 3 or more continents, and comprises multiple sectors/disciplines and roles. If you would like the RDA to broker conversations with members from specific regions, please contact

Communicate the 12-18 month participation requirement to WG members (IGs and CoPs remain in operation as long as they remain active, subject to periodic evaluation of their activity and its relevance to RDA aims, and, in the case of CoPs, subject to periodic reviews).

Initiating an RDA WG, IG or CoP

To initiate an RDA Group, Chairs should contact about their intent to develop a Group; the Secretariat will then assist the group throughout its duration.

For WGs, please see Creating or Joining an RDA Working Group.

For IGs, please see Creating or Joining an RDA Interest Group.

For CoPS, lead the Agreement development process. For more information about CoPs please see Creating or Joining a Community of Practice.After a Group has been endorsed by the RDA, a liaison from the RDA Technical Advisory Board (TAB) will be assigned to the group. More information on how the TAB liaison can support the group can be found under “Liaison” in the document outlining what TAB does.

Administering Operations of RDA Groups

    • Facilitate coordination and communication within the group, ensuring compliance with the RDA Groups policy effective from 1 April 2021.


    • With support from the group’s TAB liaison, help the group to stay updated on related RDA activities (other WGs, IGs and CoPs) and seek collaborations where appropriate. (Note: this is an important task requiring a significant investment in time).

    • Consider nominating group members as formal cross-group liaisons. These group members would join related / relevant existing RDA Groups and report back to your group, exploring synergies and making sure both groups are aware of the other group’s activities.
        • Maintain records of group meetings, notes, and materials for archiving and share them on the group’s pages on the RDA web site.

        • Organise and facilitate regular group meetings.

        • Utilise the RDA website and online channels to engage the community and provide updates on group efforts.

        • Inform the RDA of relevant outputs and outcomes and how they will be sustained.
            • Participate in plenaries, including breakout sessions and participation at TAB/WG/IG chairs meetings (as scheduling permits).

            • Inform the RDA Secretariat ( if any of the group’s chairs have changed, or if the group would like to hold an election for new group chairs (see “Roles and Responsibilities” above).

            • If the group wishes to change its name or type, please contact the RDA Secretariat ( to discuss the necessary steps, usually the same as for refreshing a Charter (see below).

Encourage IGs that have been active for a long time to refresh their Charters every 3-5 years, following the outlined process on the Creating and Managing an RDA Interest Group page.

Plenary Sessions

Plenary sessions should be working meetings that favour discussion and problem solving over presentation. In preparing, chairs should:


    • Provide a clear title, description and goals of the session.

    • Provide any required or useful background material for the session on the session page (the Secretariat can help).

    • Make any presentation slides available on the session page by the start of the session.

    • Encourage participants to take collaborative notes (Secretariat will provide a Google doc for each session, linked from the session page).


Plenary sessions should be facilitated (not just chaired) by the group chairs. In Plenary sessions, chairs should:


    • Pay careful attention to ensure all voices are heard and none dominate.

    • Where appropriate, use feedback tools and techniques (real-time voting, team challenges, breakouts, panels) to build understanding and consensus.


Outputs and Adoption

  • Lead the development and dissemination of reports to RDA members concerning outputs and outcomes resulting from WG and IG activities.
  • Present reports on outcomes and outputs at Plenaries:
  • For WGs, Around the 18-month mark from Council Recognition and Endorsement, you may be asked to present your final Recommendation using the provided presentation template.

    • Specifically for WGs:

        Conduct outreach to external organisations and members to gain support on outputs.

      • Communicate to members the importance of adopting outputs and actively seek adopters with group members.
      • Submit a publishable version of the WG’s Recommendation, a maintenance plan, contact details of two adopters, and other required information to the Secretariat for publishing the Recommendation and endorsement process.
    • Learn more about WG Outputs and the endorsement process.
    • When publishing any RDA-related papers or other publications, ensure to acknowledge the RDA using the following wording:

  • “This work was developed as part of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) ‘WG/IG/CoP’ entitled ‘long name (short name)’, and we acknowledge the support provided by the RDA community and its structures”

Closing out a Group

Groups are mainly closed out once they have delivered their final Recommendation (for WGs), because the group has finished what it wanted to do (for IGs and CoPs), due to inactivity (IGs and CoPs, or, rarely, WGs), due to an 18-month review (for CoPs), or because the group has decided to stop working on the area (all Groups).


If you and your fellow co-chairs want your group to be closed, please email the RDA Secretariat at and state the reasons for wanting the group to be closed.  The Secretariat will then contact you about the next steps.