Coordinating the Global Open Science Commons IG Charter

06 Sep 2019

Coordinating the Global Open Science Commons IG Charter

This Charter describes the proposed activity of the Coordinating the Global Open Science Commons Interest Group.


Name of Proposed Interest Group:

Coordinating the Global Open Science Commons IG (GOSC IG)


Introduction (A brief articulation of what issues the IG will address, how this IG is aligned with the RDA mission, and how this IG would be a value-added contribution to the RDA community):


The coordination of data infrastructure on various levels (country, continent, discipline, sector) is on the increase. So called “Open Science Commons” or “Data commons” provide a shared virtual space or platform that provides 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 initiatives outside traditional research contexts. Coordinating across these initiatives to enable a network of interoperable data commons is the goal, as well as providing greater clarity about what is meant by a Commons in the context of science or research.


The Interest Group will provide a neutral place where people have conversations about Open Science Commons. It will function in a similar vein to the funders forum – space will be given to raise topics of mutual interest, track trends and reach consensus on priorities. The Group will work to reach a shared understanding of what a “Commons” is in the research data space; what functionality, coverage and characteristics does such an initiative require and how can this be coordinated at a global level?  The IG Chairs will also proactively look outside the RDA community to connect with parallel initiatives in other spaces, whether in national / regional contexts or in other fora such as the OECD, G7 Open Science Working Group, UN’s Expert Advisory Group on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, CODATA, GO-FAIR and others. Recognising the broad scope, we will focus initially on Data Commons and extend to Open Science Commons as work progresses.


This Interest Group is closely aligned to the core mission of RDA as it is inherently engaged in building the social and technical bridges that enable data sharing. It will own the overall remit of coordinating the delivery of a Global Open Science Commons and monitor progress made within related RDA Working Groups and other initiatives to achieve this goal. Indeed, the scope is so large that the Interest Group is expected to run for several years and coordinate across many Working Groups, primarily those that are convened within this RDA IG forum but also aligning with existing WG/IG of relevance.


The Interest Group will help to coordinate and steer initiatives, assisting implementers to maintain focus while also providing wider context and meaning. It will encourage and facilitate global collaboration, helping to minimise data silos and adoption of standards and protocols to facilitate a cross-country and cross-discipline global open science commons. The Group will necessarily be large and diverse, representing many different stakeholder groups, sectors and countries. Chairs come from 5 different continents given the breadth of remit and need for genuine global engagement.


User scenario(s) or use case(s) the IG wishes to address (what triggered the desire for this IG in the first place):


This proposal builds on three previous BoF sessions at earlier plenaries which analysed current practice and articulated the need to define areas of overlap which are well-suited to greater coordination and interoperability. The field is now at a stage of maturity where we need to agree on definitions and define a typology to help coordinate work and identify what can be done collectively and what has to be done on an individual basis to progress work in related WGs.


Some very preliminary work has been presented on a typology at the G7 Open Science Working Group in Paris. This draws together the technical layers proposed in NIH data commons work with human factors that also need to be considered. The key initial task for this Interest Group will be to reach consensus on the core components to be addressed.



Existing Open Science Commons initiatives with which we have engaged include the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), the African Open Science Platform (AOSP), NIH Data Commons, Canada’s National Data Services Framework (NDSF), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) initiative. We intend to connect to other organisational or discipline-specific commons such as the Australian Biocommons,[1] the Data Commons for Food Security[2] and CSIROs Managed Data Ecosystem.


Previous BoF sessions (noted below) have presented some Commons initiatives and progressed discussion to a stage where we have begun identifying key characteristics of the commons to advance a typology and define initial pilot cases for WG activities.



Objectives (A specific set of focus areas for discussion, including use cases that pointed to the need for the IG in the first place.   Articulate how this group is different from other current activities inside or outside of RDA.):


The objectives of this Interest Group will build on and take note of activities occurring within national/continental Data Commons in that it specifically aims to bring these together to promote coordination and coherence. Doing so will prevent silos forming - a critical objective since all research is global.


The initial activity of the IG will be to articulate the coverage of Commons initiatives in the research data and open science space to provide an overarching framework to structure and guide work. Reaching consensus on what is and isn’t a Commons will help to focus activity and avoid mis-application of the concept by those keen to respond to trends.

A significant activity to be undertaken by the IG is to promote a more coherent international perspective on the role of the Commons. Within the EOSCsecretariat project, effort is allocated to engage internationally and promote coherence. Within the ARDC, one of the strategic themes is Coordination and Coherence. Since RDA is recognised as the global forum for discussing such data issues and has coordinated the initial 3 BoFs in this field, these efforts will be encouraged to contribute to and align with the forthcoming IG and WGs.


Participation (Address which communities will be involved, what skills or knowledge should they have, and how will you engage these communities.  Also address how this group proposes to coordinate its activity with relevant related groups.):


Participation in the Interest Group will be as broad as possible to cover at least the following knowledge and groups:

  • Those involved in running existing Open Science Commons, including national/supra-national, disciplinary, institutional and other sector initiatives e.g. government portals
  • Funders, national ministries and policymakers (addressing research infrastructure policy and research policy) such as OECD, Science Europe and national funders
  • Research organisations
  • Research data service providers who contribute to Commons initiatives
  • Researchers and end users
  • Parallel bodies in other sectors relevant to this work e.g. International Association for the Study of the Commons


We will pursue links with the National Data Services IG to ensure close collaboration and alignment, possibly including a future merger. Mark Leggott has already been brokering discussions and acting as a liaison between the two initiatives. The Funders Forum is also a critical body of relevance to this Interest Group. We will provide updates for their meetings and explore opportunities for joint sessions with the Funders IG.



Outcomes (Discuss what the IG intends to accomplish.  Include examples of WG topics or supporting IG-level outputs that might lead to WGs later on.):


There are four key outcomes on which we expect to deliver or make significant progress towards in the first 12-18 months.

  • Consensus and alignment around the description/vision of a Commons.
  • A typology of Open Science Commons to provide a framework for activity, drawing on existing relevant semantic activity where appropriate that is occurring/has occurred within Agrisemantics, Vocabulary Services IG, Metadata IG and related WGs.
  • A roadmap for global alignment between Global Open Science Commons. This will present an overall trajectory and support the definition of related working groups.
  • One or more initial Working Groups to conduct focused activity.


Work began on defining a typology for data commons at RDA in Philadelphia. A preliminary draft of a Working Group case statement has also been prepared. We will use the session at P14 in Helsinki to consult on the proposed pilot cases and confirm what remit should be addressed in the initial Working Group. The Interest Group will plan and phase work across multiple Working Groups and ensure alignment with other initiatives.

Although the Interest Group will need a multi-year lifespan, within the first 18 months we expect to have reached consensus on a typology for the commons and alignment of vision. A clear roadmap with stages of phased activity will also be delivered.

Mechanism (Describe how often your group will meet and how will you maintain momentum between Plenaries.):

Chairs will meet every two months, with the meetings being open to contributions from anyone who wishes to participate. A schedule will be published online. Standing items for the meeting include updates from each national/regional or domain initiative and reviewing progress on related WG activities.



Timeline (Describe draft milestones and goals for the first 12 months):


An initial session of the Interest Group will be run at P14 in Helsinki. At this we will advance the typology for the Commons and brainstorm a roadmap for the first 1-3 years.


Other related events are planned which will advance this work. These include:

  • Sessions on examining Open Science platforms and Research Infrastructures at the CODATA conference in Beijing, China, in September 2019
  • The EOSC in an international context workshop on Tuesday 22nd October at the RDA plenary, Helsinki
  • EOSC Symposium on 26-28th November in Budapest (specifically international panel)



Potential Group Members (Include proposed chairs/initial leadership and all members who have expressed interest):


Proposed Chairs

NOTE: We now have chairs from every RDA region

Andrew Treloar, ARDC, Australia

Sarah Jones, DCC, Scotland

Corina Pascu, European Commission, Belgium

Vivien Bonazzi, Deloittes, USA

Kazutsuna Yamaji, NII, Japan

Omo Oaiya, WACREN, Ghana

Devika Madalli, Indian Statistics Institute, India


Interested Members

Simon Hodson, CODATA, France

Juan Bicarregui, STFC, UK

Guido Aben, AARNET, Australia

Kheeran Dharmawardena, CSIRO, Australia

Laura Palumbo, Rutgers University, USA

Keith Russell, ARDC, Australia

Minglu Wang, York University, Canada

Mark Leggott, Research Data Canada

Paul Uhlir, consultant, USA

submit a comment