Data Economics IG - TAB Review


Interest Group Title: Data Economics IG

Group Page:


Updated Charter:

Proposers:  Yuri Demchenko, Jane Greenberg

Date Received by TAB:  6 January 2019

Comments on revised case statement:


The group is addressing the key aspect for the organisation of reliable data markets and as such could organise a missing perspective within the RDA Ecosystem. Although many of the previous deficiencies have been rectified, there is still little or no information presented about internal or external collaboration, or the expertise of the IG. This should be fairly easy to remedy, but nonetheless the “Charter Requires Revision” in this respect, before it is approved.

Focus and Fit:

The IG’s charter continues to be responsive to and squarely within the scope of RDA. 


There were several comments by TAB in this area that noted the need improvements. One was the relevant expertise of the membership, including the co-chairs. One of the co-chairs worked in the financial sector in NYC before moving to university positions. The expertise of the co-chairs is now listed at the beginning of the Charter. With regard to other RDA groups the new Charter makes the following statement: “Linking with other RDA IG and WG where data commoditization has important connections and impacts. For example, the Legal Interoperability IG, Big Data IG, and FAIR and metadata related IGs.” The proposal also states that: “Interaction with other IG and WG is expected, external experts and contributors will be invited.”

However, there is no description of the activities or interactions with other RDA groups, and the charter does not include a list of members/experts involved in the IG and within RDA. Instead of broadening the table of experts involved in the IG from the first draft of the Charter, it has been removed altogether in the revised Charter. Moreover, even tacitly, there are not very many RDA people signed up on the IG homepage (10 beyond the 2 co-chairs and RDA Secretariat staff). For external coordination, the following statement is made: “Interaction with external organizations is expected: NIST, IEEE, International Data Space Association.” Some standards bodies like the ISO and BDVA are also mentioned as recipients of the group’s output. In summary, the internal RDA coordination is missing or inadequate, and the coordination with external groups is not described.

Secondly, the TAB previously commented that the proposal was too EU-centric. It does appear that some external coordination is contemplated with both EU and US organizations, but the revised charter does not explicitly address this point and the membership is not listed so there is no way to know. A list of references has been added and includes EU and US sources, however. Some mention of other missing RDA regions should be added as well.

Impact and Engagement:

The TAB’s previous comments focused on a lack of detail about coordination with other groups, both within RDA and externally. This is still largely missing, as noted above. There also was a critique of the commercial/noncommercial data distinction, which has been addressed in the revision of the charter.

Recommendation: Charter is Sufficient __; Charter Requires Revision _X_; Charter is Rejected __


NOTE: The text below relates to the review of the original case statement and are included as a historical record of interaction only


The IG charter needs to be revised and resubmitted per the comments below.

Focus and Fit:  

(Are the Interest Group objectives aligned with the RDA mission ?  Is the scope too large for effective progress, too small for an RDA effort, or not appropriate for the RDA?  Overall, is this a worthwhile effort for the RDA to take on? Is this an effort that adds value over and above what is currently being done within the community?)

In the charter the proposers recognise the ever-increasing need for trustworthy mechanisms, through which data users can discover and request access to datasets. There is a critical ongoing public dialogue on the properties and value of such data markets, also for research data. In this respect, research data practitioners globally could significantly benefit from getting a better grasp on the benefits and challenges around the set-up and operation of such data markets.

Therefore, such an effort is definitely in the purview of the RDA, but there are clarifications and suggested improvements that ought to be made, as discussed further below.



(Does the initial membership list include sufficient expertise, and disciplinary and international representation?  Are the people involved in the Interest Group sufficient to make tangible progress? What individuals or organizations are missing?)

The list of initial proposers gives confidence on the ability of the group to undertake the work described. It would, however, be beneficial for the proposers to further identify their expertise in relation to the objectives of the group. Also, neither co-chair is an economist, which is not fatal to the proposal, but needs to be expressly considered. Moreover, the proposal is entirely EU-centric, with no issues or cites being mentioned outside the EU. The EU has a particular view of public data in commerce and legal controls, generally, so this should be addressed. Finally, although some external organizations are cited in the proposal, largely from the EU, there are no RDA groups cited in the “Participation” section.


Impact and Engagement:

(Is it likely that the Interest Group will engage the intended community?  Is there evidence that the research community wants this? Will the outcome(s) of the Interest Group foster data sharing and/or exchange?)

The described objectives and outcomes could provide valuable guidance to the RDA communities, including domain repository operators and data practitioners stewards. The charter lacks, however, the required level of detail regarding the planned approach towards disseminating the outputs of the IG and engaging with the RDA different communities of practice. How would the different disciplinary and cross-cutting socio-technical groups be engaged? How is their potential feedback expected to be considered in the future plans of the IG? Answering some of those indicative questions would enable us to understand better how such group is essential to operate within the ecosystem of RDA.

Moreover, the proposal appears to be focused only on commercial/industrial data. That would be fine if the proposal was titled and written that way, but it insinuates a broad perspective without being broad. In other words, it is one-sided toward commercial data, while apparently covering non-commercial research data in government and academia, which is the primary focus of RDA. More distinction between the two sectors and the proposed work plan is needed. Finally, the public good aspects of scientific information are barely mentioned, but that forms the economic basis of the good in question.


Recommendation:  Charter is Sufficient __; Charter Requires Revision X__; Charter is Rejected __

Additional Comments:

The charter would benefit from the following edits:

  1. The anticipated mode of collaboration with specific Interest and Working groups in RDA should be described.

  2. Specific references to the BoF session (as this information will become dated for the people reading the charter in the future), as well as the references to the specific H2020 calls should be removed.

  3. Better articulation of the specific expertise of the initial group of proposers against the objectives of the group should be added.

  4. There are major grammar and expression problems throughout the draft. In some places it is not even possible to understand what is being articulated. The draft could be edited by a native English speaker.

  5. The timeline table has 2021 dates and then reverts to 2020 dates. The timeline should be seriatim.

  6. The link to the “agenda and notes” from the P12 session in Gaborone does not exist at this point. Please fix that.


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