Initial thoughts and recommendations on RDA as a Standardisation body
RDA Council Strategy Subcommittee - 8 November 2016
The RDA has a clear and transparent process for producing and endorsing its outputs as “Recommendations”.
Standards are reference documents that represent a consensus in a field and are based on the field’s collective knowledge. Standardisation can facilitate interoperability and innovation and build user trust in products, services and systems.
The first four RDA Outputs have been through European Multi-Stakeholders Platform on ICT Standardisation (E02758) to be recognised as Technical Specifications. The European Commission see this as a very positive outcome and would encourage RDA to put more Recommendations through this process. We have not clarified the views of other funders.
The standardisation process raised some questions about the robustness and openness of the RDA process, which were successfully addressed by Hilary Hanahoe to the satisfaction of the Multi-stakeholder panel although this was quite a lot of work.
There may be lessons learned from this process that could be useful to improve the RDA process of endorsing its outputs as recommendations.
Questions for consideration with the RDA membership
Does RDA wish for its Recommendations to be recognised by other bodies?
If so, should RDA review its processes so that Recommendations are more easily adopted by other standardisation bodies?
Should RDA enter into discussions with one or more formal standardisation bodies in some way so that RDA Recommendations can get a fast track to becoming standards? (The mechanism is likely to be different for each standards organisation so they will have to be considered individually)
- Adoption by other bodies would provide a quantifiable metric of outputs (eg N standards were produced this year)
- Adoption by other bodies would provide a validation of the RDA output process by a “higher authority”
- RDA may be seen as important and versatile as it works with multiple standards organisations
- Adoption by other bodies would build trust and engagement in new user communities
- Could be seen to Imply that RDA recommendations are of lesser status than the “other” standards
- May be a lot of work (But should be just one-off work for each organisation)
- Could slow down the RDA process (This could probably be avoided)
- May lead to a loss of independence (This should definitely be avoided)
- If the answer to the above is No: are we satisfied that RDA recommendations will be widely adopted? What are our quantifiable metrics for success of our Recommendations, and are we satisfied that they are sufficient?
- If the answer to the above is Yes: how do we go about doing it in a systematic manner?
The strategy Subcommittee have considered these questions and make the following recommendations for consideration with the RDA membership before presentation to the RDA Council:
- RDA should continue to engage with the European Multi-Stakeholders Platform on ICT Standardisation (MSP) and endeavour to have all appropriate Recommendations adopted by MSP. This should be undertaken by the RDA Europe project
- RDA should encourage any WG or IG that wishes to pursue taking its outputs through a standardisation body to do so. This can be done without formal endorsement from RDA.
- Council should consider whether there are other standards organisations it might be beneficial to engage with at an organisational level and if there are should begin discussions with them. An individual or group of individuals will need to be given responsibility for taking this forward.
Drafted by Juan Bicarregui, RDA OAB Co-Chair & RDA Council Subcommittee Member