Name of Proposed Interest Group:
Disciplinary Collaboration Framework (DCF)
(originally introduced as Disciplinary Interoperability Framework)
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):
A fragmented landscape or a diverse ecosystem?
Over the last couple of years, we have witnessed an increase in the number of Interest and Working Groups operating within RDA. A significant proportion of that increase is due to the creation of disciplinary groups. The operation of such groups in RDA is crucial, as they act as direct channels for communication and collaboration between RDA and their respective scientific communities. As such they enable the interplay between the RDA outputs and community practices, tools and infrastructures. There are approximately (based on the definition used) 20 IGs that can be considered ‘disciplinary’ currently established and active in the wider RDA ecosystem.
However, to benefit fully from the existence of these groups it is vital that the RDA community self-organises its activities, to turn the challenges associated with a fragmented landscape into opportunities derived from the operation of a diverse ecosystem. Arguably, the turning point is the capacity of the RDA community to organically develop interfaces between groups, and streamline the inter-group communication.
The need for the formulation of a group that will take on the work of strengthening the voice and position of disciplines within RDA, was first identified during a panel discussion at Sci Data Con and a subsequent paper was published in the CODATA Data Science Journal (Genova, F. et al., (2017) Building a Disciplinary, World‐Wide Data Infrastructure. Data Science Journal. 16, p.16. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2017-016).
User scenario(s) or use case(s) the IG wishes to address (what triggered the desire for this IG in the first place):
Issues relating to managing, linking and curating research data are often perceived in different ways within different disciplines. This has led to a challenging landscape that lacks a consistent requirements framework. Such a framework could can drive and steer development of technological solutions and improve their applicability across scientific disciplines. A collaboration and coordination forum where these issues are openly addressed from a discipline specific perspective is needed. Such a forum, however, needs to be organized and operated from the respective groups themselves, providing them with the flexibility to steer the agenda in an agile and responsive manner according to changing needs.
The RDA DCF Interest Group will act as a collaboration and coordination working space, bringing together representatives from communities of practice across scientific disciplines to better organise and drive the discussion for prioritising, harmonising and efficiently articulating communities’ needs.
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 RDA Disciplinary Collaboration Framework (DCF) sets out with a vision and a clear list of standing objectives in support of its work within the RDA ecosystem.
Strengthen the voice of disciplinary groups and improve the clarity and visibility of discipline-specific data management and stewardship needs within RDA. Work towards the development of a disciplinary interoperability framework.
- Identify and describe common challenges, needs and objectives of scientific communities of practice relevant to managing and sharing their research data;
- Improve communication and interplay between disciplinary groups;
- Connect and liaise between disciplinary groups with technical and socio-cultural cross-cutting groups;
- Improve visibility and applicability of RDA outputs across disciplines;
- Act as a forum and represent discipline specific communities that are currently not represented as an RDA group.
The quick wins
- Act as an inter-disciplinary open forum;
- Act as a forum to introduce and discuss RDA outputs;
- Perform a gap analysis for disciplinary participation in RDA;
- Support RDA domain ambassadors and the ambassadors’ scheme;
- Act as a single authoritative voice in RDA, representing disciplines.
The long runs
- Use the group as a window to RDA for scientific communities that currently do not participate in RDA;
- Provide authoritative opinions to TAB/OAB/Council as needed on disciplinary engagement and coordination matters;
- Take actions towards the defragmentation of the disciplinary groups landscape;
- Identify and prioritise common technical challenges
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.):
The DCF is predicated upon strong participation by all co-chairs of discipline specific Interest Groups, as well as, individuals who represent scientific disciplines outside formal RDA groups. DCF will also invite all co-chairs of other cross-cutting groups addressing technical and socio-cultural issues to participate in the DCF meetings.
As the group develops its working agenda and selects specific issues to address, it will make calls to specific RDA Interest and Working Groups to participate.
Recognising the role of the group in the wider RDA organisation, the group will have an open invitation to members of all the organisational bodies (Secretariat, TAB, OAB and Council members).
Sessions and proceedings of the group will be public and subject to community review/comment.
Rules of procedure of the group will be further developed and agreed at its inaugural meeting.
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.):
As mentioned above, DCF will act as a collaboration and activity coordination space for disciplinary groups and discipline-representing individuals. Following a prioritisation exercise of the technical and socio-cultural issues that cross-cut disciplinary needs,
- Propose and support joint sessions at RDA plenaries between technical and disciplinary groups;
- Propose the formation of new working groups to address specific challenges, which are not otherwise addressed by existing groups;
- Support the development of new disciplinary IGs, to address gaps in the scientific coverage;
- Organise focused sessions and events to help disciplinary groups navigate and exploit RDA outputs/products.
- Support disciplinary ambassadors in their role within their respective communities;
- Other outputs as evaluated by the group membership.
Mechanism (Describe how often your group will meet and how will you maintain momentum between Plenaries.):
- Breakout sessions during Plenary meetings (every six months)
- Participation in the RDA co-chairs collaboration meetings (every six months)
- Online meetings (on an ad-hoc basis)
By having a staggered meeting schedule, we will ensure that the group will convene quarterly (baseline schedule).
Timeline (Describe draft milestones and goals for the first 12 months):
Month 6: Report on gap analysis for disciplinary participation; Which disciplines are represented and which key scientific areas are not.
Month 12: Communication across the RDA ecosystem of key group statements on urgent issues (statements)
Potential Group Members (Include proposed chairs/initial leadership and all members who have expressed interest):
 Disciplinary groups are herein defined as groups that approach research data challenges from the perspective of specific scientific disciplines. Examples of such groups in RDA include: Agricultural Data Interest Group (IGAD); Biodiversity Data Integration IG; Chemistry Research Data IG; Data for Development IG; Digital Practices in History and Ethnography IG; Education and Training on handling of research data IG; Geospatial IG; Global Water Information IG; Health Data; Linguistics Data IG; Marine Data Harmonization IG; Quality of Urban Life IG; RDA/CODATA Materials Data, Infrastructure & Interoperability IG; Structural Biology IG; Weather, climate and air quality.