Proposals from the end of the Chairs' Collaboration meeting

19 Jun 2017

Those of you who were at the Gothenburg meeting saw two summary/action presentations at the end, prior to the W3C discussion in the afternoon. The first was from Peter Wittenburg and the second from Bob Hanisch, representing himself and his co-conspirators Rebecca Koskela and Keith Jeffery. Bob & Co. elaborated each of their seven points in a Word doc and that doc plus Peter's slide set are attached.

The point of this message is to gather comments from those who were at the meeting, and others on this list who would like to comment, before advancing the various thoughts and proposals to all of the Chairs and to TAB, which were the next proposed steps.

A summary of the meeting and the presentations will be made available at the meeting specific page in a few days.

Thanks again to those who attended and participated in another productive Chairs' Collaboration meeting.

Larry

File Attachment: 
AttachmentSize
File PW-summary-points.pptx98.63 KB
File RDA Future_KJ_RK_RH.docx16.38 KB
  • Andrea Perego's picture

    Author: Andrea Perego

    Date: 19 Jun, 2017

    Dear Larry,
    Thanks for sharing the proposals.
    I have couple of comments about the "RDA Future" document:
    1. Point 1: I understand and support the idea of having document/ouput "types", denoting the stage of maturity and level of endorsement. However, I'm not sure about the use of "Recommendation", which, in W3C parlance, denotes a "standard". Unless RDA is not going to develop standards, the use of this terminology may be misleading.
    2. Point 3: It's unclear to me if the proposal is to make nominal the current 12-18 WG lifetime. If this is the case, I would not be in favour of this change: I think the current 12-18-month policy (subject to extension) has been very effective in delivering tangible results. If the task is too big to be completed within this timeframe, it should rather re-thought - e.g., by splitting it in a number of steps, to be addressed by different working groups - or the same working group, re-chartered.
    Cheers,
    Andrea
    ----
    Andrea Perego, Ph.D.
    Scientific / Technical Project Officer
    European Commission DG JRC
    Directorate B - Growth and Innovation
    Unit B6 - Digital Economy
    Via E. Fermi, 2749 - TP 262
    21027 Ispra VA, Italy
    https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/
    ----
    The views expressed are purely those of the writer and may
    not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official
    position of the European Commission.
    - Show quoted text -From: llannom=***@***.***-groups.org [llannom=***@***.***-groups.org] on behalf of llannom [***@***.***]
    Sent: 19 June 2017 12:19
    To: 7th WG/IG Collaboration Meeting, Gothenburg University., June 12 - 14, 2017
    Subject: [7th_wgig_chairs_mtg] Proposals from the end of the Chairs' Collaboration meeting
    Those of you who were at the Gothenburg meeting saw two summary/action presentations at the end, prior to the W3C discussion in the afternoon. The first was from Peter Wittenburg and the second from Bob Hanisch, representing himself and his co-conspirators Rebecca Koskela and Keith Jeffery. Bob & Co. elaborated each of their seven points in a Word doc and that doc plus Peter's slide set are attached.
    The point of this message is to gather comments from those who were at the meeting, and others on this list who would like to comment, before advancing the various thoughts and proposals to all of the Chairs and to TAB, which were the next proposed steps.
    A summary of the meeting and the presentations will be made available at the meeting specific page in a few days.
    Thanks again to those who attended and participated in another productive Chairs' Collaboration meeting.
    Larry
    Attached files:
    PW-summary-points.pptx
    RDA Future_KJ_RK_RH.docx
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  • Siri Jodha Khalsa's picture

    Author: Siri Jodha Khalsa

    Date: 23 Jun, 2017

    Hi Larry,
    My comments on selected items from the RDA Future doc:

    1. lfo1;tab-stops:list .5in">Adopt
      the W3C process for promoting Working Drafts to
      Recommendations.

     
    While RDA has a
    process for
    promoting outputs to the status of recommendations that is
    documented on the
    RDA website (http://bit.ly/2svpb43
    (Working
    Group Outputs) and http://bit.ly/2h5yKNX
    (Reporting on Outcomes and Adoption Activities), it is not well
    known within or
    outside the immediate RDA community and thus does not have the
    provenance of a
    process such as the W3C process (working draft, proposed
    recommendation,
    recommendation).  W3C
    Recommendations
    have visibility and credibility equivalent to ISO standards.
    style="mso-spacerun:yes">  For RDA to be taken seriously
    by potential
    adopters, we need to have a similar imprimatur to our
    recommendations.  Since the
    W3C process is already well-known
    and highly regarded, RDA should simply adopt it and use it.
    I
    support the idea of having wider
    community review of RDA outputs prior to declaring them
    recommendations, but
    feel that the W3C process would be overly burdensome for most
    groups' outputs. There clearly needs to be different categories
    of RDA outputs. A process like W3C's could be developed for
    those intended become recommendations on par with those of W3C
    or ISO standards.

     

    1. lfo1;tab-stops:list .5in">Work
      to annual roadmap developed with TAB and WG chairs, showing
      milestones and deliverables, and presented to OA for
      endorsement; each year’s roadmap would begin with assessment
      of past year’s progress.

     
    RDA should prepare an
    annually
    updated roadmap that highlights the research capabilities that its
    Working
    Group outputs will enable.  It
    might be framed
    related to several research challenges, updated every year or two,
    and would
    show how WG activities support those challenges.
    style="mso-spacerun:yes">  The annual roadmap contents
    would result from
    the existing group plans and discussions among the WG chairs and
    the TAB using
    a common structure and format leading to OA endorsement.
    style="mso-spacerun:yes">  By putting RDA’s technical
    developments into
    a specific research context it is likely that national RDA
    projects will be
    able to make stronger cases for funding for development, thereby
    helping to
    resolve the problem that currently almost all development work in
    RDA is done
    on a volunteer basis.  Funded
    development
    work would also help to support item 1 above, assuring, for
    example, that
    proposed Recommendations and associated protocols have at least
    two
    interoperable implementations. By using existing plans but
    integrating to one
    common form there is little additional work for groups.
    style="mso-spacerun:yes"> Not all Working Groups need to
    be involved in
    a particular year’s roadmap.
    The
    annual roadmap should include activities
    and deliberations of the interest groups as well and the working
    groups to the
    extent that they add to the overview of RDA’s technical scope. I
    believe there
    was consensus at the meeting that the roadmap would not be
    proscriptive, i.e.
    would not be the basis of prioritizing certain RDA groups over
    others.
     

    1. lfo1;tab-stops:list .5in">WGs
      and IGs work without specific time limits, except that groups
      inactive after three plenaries become dormant.

     
    In the past it has not
    been
    uncommon for WG and IG case statements to take more than one year
    to be
    approved, and for WGs with a nominal 12-18 month time to live,
    this has led to
    challenges in maintaining the inertia of a new WG.
    style="mso-spacerun:yes">  Recently the TAB has
    accelerated the review
    and approval process, and WGs can be extended if their activities
    naturally
    require more than 18 months or must be revised.
    style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
    Still, the 12-18 month time-to-product expectation for WGs
    can be an
    obstacle, particularly for projects that are too complex to be
    completed on
    such a time scale.  WG case
    statements
    should instead propose a nominal work plan, schedule with
    milestones and – as
    appropriate – deliverables.  Specific
    time expectations should be applied only as nominal guidelines.
    My
    feeling is that the 18 month
    time limit should stand, with possible exceptions through
    appeal. Complex
    projects should be divided into simpler elements that can be
    accomplished in
    the 18 mo. time frame
     
    Dormant groups with
    co-chairs
    ‘camping on the territory’ can be resuscitated by a proposal
    involving at least
    two new co-chairs to resuscitate the group.
    style="mso-spacerun:yes"> 
    The previous co-chairs can, of course, be group members.

    style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"> 

    1. lfo1;tab-stops:list .5in">Simple
      criteria for new IGs:  within
      RDA scope and not redundant with existing activities.

     
    The criteria for
    creating new IGs
    should be simplified, allowing diversity and creativity as long as
    the topics
    are within scope for RDA and do not overlap with existing IGs.
    style="mso-spacerun:yes">  Where a new IG is proposed
    that intersects
    strongly with an existing one, the proposers will be encouraged to
    contact the
    existing IG co-chairs to see if the activities can be merged.
     
    In addition, the rules
    about “at
    least two but no more than four co-chairs” should be relaxed to a
    suggestion
    rather than a requirement.  There
    can be
    cases where more co-chairs would be desired in order to increase
    expertise and
    diversity, and to assure that credit accrues to the organizers,
    especially more
    junior RDA members.
    I
    feel the 4 co-chair limit should
    remain, with temporary exceptions (e.g. getting new co-chairs up
    to speed)

    style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"> 

    1. lfo1;tab-stops:list .5in">The
      Secretary General position should be more than administrative
      leadership.

     
    The position of
    Secretary General
    is a very prominent one, and the reputation and skills of the SG
    reflect
    strongly on the RDA as a whole.  Ideally
    the SG will be a person of well-established technical and
    programmatic
    leadership, someone who can set the intellectual tone and
    communicate the
    vision of the RDA widely.
    I
    agree

    style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"> 

    1. lfo1;tab-stops:list .5in">Future
      TAB members should have home organization’s commitment of
      ~10-20% of time.

     
    Although several of
    the above
    suggestions would reduce the workload of TAB members, such as
    simplifying the
    criteria for IG creation, others such as the annual roadmap will
    increase it
    but concentrate the effort on RDA group outputs and RDA
    visibility.  Candidates for
    TAB should affirm, e.g.,
    through a statement from their home organization, that they will
    be able to
    devote the time necessary to carry out their responsibilities as
    TAB
    members.  TAB co-chairs
    would obviously
    be at the higher end of the time commitment.
    I
    agree

    style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"> 

    1. lfo1;tab-stops:list .5in">All
      RDA bodies post public minutes of activities.

     
    In order to be
    successful both for
    its immediate participants, but also as a more general driver for
    change in the
    research community, RDA must be transparent as to its functions,
    processes,
    governance, and decision-making.  All
    RDA
    bodies – WGs, IGs, TAB, Council, OAB, and any subcommittees of the
    above –
    should routinely write minutes of their meetings and share those
    publicly
    through the RDA website and WG/IG mailing lists.
    style="mso-spacerun:yes">  Sensitive issues such as
    personnel decisions
    are, of course, to be handled with discretion and need not be
    publicly
    documented, though they should perhaps still be recorded in a
    confidential
    subset of meeting minutes as is normal for boards of directors,
    personnel
    promotion committees, and such.
    I
    agree

    Cheers,
    SiriJodha

    On 6/19/17 12:19 PM, llannom wrote:

    cite="mid:***@***.***-groups.org">Those of you who were at the Gothenburg meeting saw two
    summary/action presentations at the end, prior to the W3C
    discussion in the afternoon. The first was from Peter Wittenburg
    and the second from Bob Hanisch, representing himself and his
    co-conspirators Rebecca Koskela and Keith Jeffery. Bob & Co.
    elaborated each of their seven points in a Word doc and that doc
    plus Peter's slide set are attached.
    The point of this message is to gather comments from those who
    were at the meeting, and others on this list who would like to
    comment, before advancing the various thoughts and proposals to
    all of the Chairs and to TAB, which were the next proposed
    steps.
    A summary of the meeting and the presentations will be made
    available at the meeting specific page in a few days.
    Thanks again to those who attended and participated in another
    productive Chairs' Collaboration meeting.
    Larry

    Attached files:

    href="https://www.rd-alliance.org/sites/default/files/PW-summary-points.pptx"
    moz-do-not-send="true">PW-summary-points.pptx

    href="https://www.rd-alliance.org/sites/default/files/RDA%20Future_KJ_RK_RH_0.docx"
    moz-do-not-send="true">RDA Future_KJ_RK_RH.docx
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    --
    Siri-Jodha Singh KHALSA, Ph.D., SMIEEE
    National Snow and Ice Data Center
    University of Colorado
    Boulder, CO 80309-0449 Phone: 1-303-492-1445 GV: 1-303-736-9976
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~khalsa
    http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9217-5550

  • Larry Lannom's picture

    Author: Larry Lannom

    Date: 23 Jun, 2017

    Thanks. We’ve gotten a couple of comments now and I encourage anyone else who has view to comment as well. We will move on to the entire Chairs’ list at some point in the not too distant future.
    Best,
    Larry

  • Mark Parsons's picture

    Author: Mark Parsons

    Date: 27 Jun, 2017

    Hi all,
    In my waning days as Secretary General, I wanted to offer a few comments on this. I’m sorry I missed the meeting. The chairs meeting was always one of my favorite RDA meetings, and this sounded like a hot one. So my comments are a bit lengthy.
    First off, while I recognize the troublesome funding constraints, I hope these meetings can continue and that they can draw broad, dynamic participation. It’s important for us to realize that this meeting was created by the WG chairs themselves not by any of the RDA governing bodies. It should stay that way and focus on the work of RDA. Don't get too caught up in process and governance. (Maybe there were too many TABsters there :-))
    Secondly, it is clear that RDA is having growing pains. Some of this may be eased with improved processes, but they will never be properly addressed without more resources. TAB is virtually all volunteers. So is Council, OAB, and most group chairs. On 1 July, when I leave and Ingrid starts, the Secretariat will include only 3.15 FTE including Ingrid. That is laughably small. They are a great team already working constantly, but there is only so much they can do. Funding the business of RDA may not be the responsibility of the chairs, but it is clearly in your interest for it to happen
    Now regarding the two documents….
    To be honest, I found Peter’s slide deck to be a bit too telegraphic for me to fully understand, but I think I agree with the “concrete actions”. I also support Peter’s call for “key messages”. I’m still very fond of our mission statement, but it is quite open-ended. We also need a clear, succinct message on what researchers and data professionals can do to do data right. This is what I was calling for in my opening talk in Barcelona. We need some strong consensus around a few simple solutions (technical and social). For example, What is the core metadata that need to be associated with a PID? How is it applied? We should have an answer to that. That would go a long way to closing the gap Peter talks about. It seems these sort of issues should be central at the chairs meeting rather than discussing RDA processes.
    I have more specific comments on the Future of RDA document. Mostly just points of information.
    1. Adopt the W3C process for promoting Working Drafts to Recommendations.
    I am not familiar with W3C processes, but I suspect RDA has a much greater diversity of outputs, that may not lend themselves the process of a strictly technical organisation. That said, we could be a bit more formal and forthright with how Recommendations are presented and ultimately endorsed (or not). But why the W3C process in particular? Why not OGC or IETF or IEEE or some other organisation? Is there something special about W3C? I would argue there is something special about RDA. (more on W3C below).
    It is also important to note that several of our Recommendations are formally endorsed by the European Multi Stakeholder Platform (MSP) – an expert advisory group on ICT standardization. This raises these Recommendations to the level of a standard in the eyes of the European Commission. It was a fairly onerous process to go through, but as part of that process they endorsed our process for reviewing and endorsing Recommendations. Another group of Recommendations is being considered by the group now. This suggest we are doing something right.
    Also the Strategy Subcommittee of Council has been considering our role vis-a-vis formal standards bodies. They published an RFC which got some feedback and are now working on a revised document. They will be presenting this to Council for discussion next week.
    Finally, I think some patience is in order. Bob H. talks about how it took 10 years for IVOA to be adopted by the community. I think were moving faster than that.
    1. Work to annual roadmap developed with TAB and WG chairs, showing milestones and deliverables, and presented to OA for endorsement; each year’s roadmap would begin with assessment of past year’s progress.
    I like this idea as long as it doesn’t exclude or minimize certain groups. I also don’t think we should underestimate the work involved. I don’t think it is possible to do well with current staff.
    1. WGs and IGs work without specific time limits, except that groups inactive after three plenaries become dormant.
    I disagree. The 18 month deadline has been an effective accountability mechanism and forces groups to focus. The result has been an new global organization producing real, adopted results in its first two years. Not many like organisations can say that. There is lots of evidence that it has been effective, and we have been sufficiently flexible so that it hasn’t been overly burdensome to those groups that are really committed.
    The point about it taking a long time for a group to be approved is overstated, no longer true, and was usually due to the group's unresponsiveness not the unresponsiveness of TAB. It a red herring.
    If the work takes longer than 18 months, chop it up into smaller focussed bits. Deadlines sharpen the mind. An unlimited timeline is a recipe for unlimited discussion and potential stagnation. I also found this recommendation somewhat contrary to the first two which seem to demand more rigor while this relaxes expectations.
    1. Simple criteria for new IGs: within RDA scope and not redundant with existing activities.
    This is probably a good idea and could reduce the TAB workload, although it also seems to contradict the call for more rigor
    I don’t see why any group would need more than four chairs. I would favor more frequent rotation instead.
    1. The Secretary General position should be more than administrative leadership.
    I strongly agree. That was a consistent message I got from Council and it is what they seek in the new person. I hope I served adequately. That said, we are woefully lacking in admin resources.
    1. Future TAB members should have home organization’s commitment of ~10-20% of time.
    I agree, if we can get it. We have a hard enough time getting candidates as is. I guess we need to work on the value proposition for organisations that contribute TAB members.
    1. All RDA bodies post public minutes of activities.
    I agree. Council Minutes have been public for several years. OAB minutes have been public from the outset. The secretariat agreed this morning that we will publicly publish our minutes and will post past minutes in a week or two after a quick check for sensitive material. I encourage TAB to also make their minutes public.
    W3C:
    Finally a note on collaboration with W3C. We have long thought this is a good idea, and I have had several conversations with Phil Archer over the years. Unfortunately, it has not been easy. The specific areas of collaboration were not clear, and neither of us wants to pay the other organisation's dues. They are unwilling to become an RDA Affiliate because they generally eschew MoUs and they don’t have a similar arrangement on their side. Phil and I agreed in principle more than a year ago to try and arrange a “membership swap” (i.e. RDA is a member of W3C and vice versa). This would give RDA full membership rights with only a restriction on the number of non-W3C members who joined their working groups through RDA's organisational membership. Unfortunately, we were never really able to make this happen, although it is probably a good idea. Again, I emphasize that we are quite different than W3C. W3C is the older more venerable group, but they are more narrowly focussed and surprisingly legalistic and bureaucratic. Their member agreement is much more onerous than the MoUs we have negotiated with other affiliates and we don't really have the capacity for that right now.
    That’s more than enough for now. All the best.
    cheers,
    -m.

  • Francoise Genova's picture

    Author: Francoise Genova

    Date: 27 Jun, 2017

    Hi all,
    Just two comments on Mark's comments:
    . on the annual Roadmap: I also think that it could be a good idea, but
    I share Mark's concerns on inclusiveness and work load with respect to
    the current manpower. Since the IVOA is in the conversation: I have to
    experience of building the IVOA annual roadmap and with a much smaller
    number of Groups and much more focussed activities it is already not so
    easy - but it is useful so it is a good aim. This would also mean that
    the Group Chairs have an additional work to do to regularly provide
    elements for the Roadmap.
    . on the IG charter evaluation: TAB also makes suggestions to improve
    the proposals, often based on what we know about other groups (not only
    about what they do, but about the kind of activity a group can perform)
    and our knowledge of the international landscape. The suggestions are in
    general very well received by the proposers. As Mark says the Group
    evaluation process is now more efficient. The charter is the public face
    of a Group and one of the bases of the session proposals, which are
    another public face, as well as the starting point of the Group
    activities, and it is worth having it as good as possible. I think that
    TAB comments can help the Groups to be more efficient from the start, at
    least for some of the IGs.
    Cheers
    Francoise

  • Stefan Kramer's picture

    Author: Stefan Kramer

    Date: 27 Jun, 2017

    Two responses inserted below.
    Stefan
    - Show quoted text -From: parsom3=***@***.***-groups.org [mailto:***@***.***-groups.org] On Behalf Of Mark Parsons
    Sent: Monday, June 26, 2017 18:16
    To: Larry Lannom <***@***.***>; 7th WG/IG Collaboration Meeting, Gothenburg University., June 12 - 14, 2017 <***@***.***-groups.org>
    Subject: Re: [7th_wgig_chairs_mtg] Proposals from the end of the Chairs' Collaboration meeting
    Hi all,
    … We need some strong consensus around a few simple solutions (technical and social). For example, What is the core metadata that need to be associated with a PID? How is it applied? We should have an answer to that. That would go a long way to closing the gap Peter talks about. …
    I think this example reveals a(nother) challenge for RDA: as a relatively young organization, how widespread is awareness within RDA of issues that were already tackled before it even came into being before new WG efforts get started? In this case, that in 2012 (the year before RDA started) there was a two-day Workshop: Metadata and Persistent Identifiers for Social and Economic Data, the purpose of which was to “to discuss the role of metadata in the context of assigning Persistent Identifiers to primary data. It aims at elaborating on how metadata can be combined with Persistent Identifiers, how is best practice ensured in the framework of existing systems and which Add-On Services have already been developed on top of such systems. Additionally, the workshop will explore available tools for metadata generating and the standards in use.” (It turned out to be a one-shot event.)
    Another perspective to that example – one could argue that the “core metadata” problem has already been solved with DataCite … and anything beyond that is quite domain-specific by necessity?

    I don’t see why any group would need more than four chairs. I would favor more frequent rotation instead.
    I agree with Mark. Having more chairs than four could get into a situation where all those who do actual work in a group are/become the chairs. That could also make it more difficult to decide on/allocate funding to attend events like the Collaboration meetings.

  • Larry Lannom's picture

    Author: Larry Lannom

    Date: 27 Jun, 2017

    Thanks Stefan, Mark, et al
    We have been accumulating comments and the question now is how to proceed. We agreed in the meeting itself that the next step was to distribute it to the entire Chairs group, but how to not lose what has been said to date? The comments have been well made and thoughtful, but I doubt that they would change fundamentally what the Bob/Rebecca/Keith group wrote or what Peter provided. Our end goal is to present something to council, but it probably should not be a collection of email threads. There is no Chair of the Chairs and as Mark pointed out this group is different from the TAB, while admitting that it does not represent all of the Chairs but only the group that tends to cluster around this series of meetings, with some coming and going. I feel at least somewhat responsible for taking the next step and would appreciate any advice.
    Best,
    Larry

  • Siri Jodha Khalsa's picture

    Author: Siri Jodha Khalsa

    Date: 27 Jun, 2017

    Hi Larry,
    The next step was to "advance the various thoughts and proposals to all
    of the Chairs and to TAB", which I took to mean the content from Peter
    and the Bob/Rebecca/Keith group plus any commentary received. However, I
    agree a more digestible package would be preferable. So, I suggest that
    the slides be turned into text (which I did in preparation for
    commenting on them, so I attach that file), and the authors distill the
    content into a few key recommentations. Distribute that distilled text
    along with Peter's 7 points, after inserting all comments after each item.
    Just a suggestion.
    Cheers,
    SiriJodha

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