On the road towards interoperability

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11 Jan 2019

On the road towards interoperability


As the Finnish research data management landscape is maturing, questions of interoperability are becoming more concrete. Both national and international platforms are available for publication of research datasets, but the level of interoperability is often limited to generic metadata. The FAIR data principles raise issues that concern more complex requirements for data citation techniques and integration of the data itself.

Thus, some of the RDA outputs have been identified by the Finnish RDA community as being highly relevant for the future development of research data management. They especially concern not just data as a static output, but data management as part of a dynamic process of research and knowledge creation. The Recommendations on Data Citation of Evolving Data and Publishing Data Workflows reflect this very well. The Metadata standards directory and the Persistent identifiers type registry both support the creation of FAIR data. In Finland the Fairdata principles are adovcated by funders and policy makers. Still services as well as a culture of practical complience need to be developed further to make more research data not only as as open as possible, but also truly findable and re-usable.

As researchers seldom work in a purely national context, it is important to keep all development aligned with the international research communities, be they domain specific or still limited to more generic services and solutions. The RDA outputs will help the national stakeholders in strengthening a sound development that acknowledges the need to raise our eyes from our immediate vicinity and tasks to a larger context in both time and space. Only this way will we be able to create sustainable and interoperable solutions.

The RDA work with citing evolving datasets conforms with the DataCite recommendations on this issue. Recently also a national cooperation has started as part of the Open Science coordination effort by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societes. There is one working group with subgroups currently discussing research data managment. Information about this can be found in Finnish on the Avointiede.fi pages and the work spaces (the box in the upper right corner).

I would especially encourage researchers to get involved and participate in the discussions. The RDA documents are an excellent starting point for this. Also taking part in the RDA Plenary in Philadelphia in April is a fantastic opportunity to create networks and learn about the latest discussions in research data management. Note that there is a possibility to get financial support thorough the RDA Europe Early Career support programme for taking part in the plenary. And, of course, we are all looking very much forward to the plenary on 23–25 October 2019 at Aalto university Campus in Otaniemi, Espoo. Save those dates!

Dr. Jessica Parland-von Essen

Senior coordinator, CSC-IT Center for Science Ltd.