Research Data Management in Engineering IG - TAB Review


Interest Group Title: Research Data Management in Engineering IG

Group Page:


Revised Charter:

Proposers:   Daniela Hausen, Angelina Kraft

Date Received by TAB:  29 Jan 2019


Comments of the revised charter


The scope and overall objectives of the group are very pertinent to the RDA vision, and the group would fill a gap in the RDA ecosystem by building liaison with an important community. Following the review by TAB the case statement has been improved. TAB, however, still has concerns regarding the breadth of engineering topics to be included in the interest group and the capacity of the initial membership to effectively represent the full scope from the perspective of researchers directly involved in engineering. Furthermore, previously mentioned review comments regarding the need for a more specific proposed mode of interaction with relevant RDA groups are not adequately addressed in the revised version. As TAB recognises the potentially crucial role of this group and to facilitate its progress, we recommend the approval of the revised case statement and strongly urge the co-chairs and the members of the new IG to specifically address the concerns mentioned in the TAB review during the group’s breakout session at the forthcoming RDA Plenary. 

The RDA P14 session may provide a good opportunity to make progress on these items. The group is invited to get in touch with their liaison who will be glad to discuss TAB comments.

Focus and Fit:

While the use cases have been extended with more concrete items, the breadth of topics could still be improved as the given cases only represent a small fraction of engineering disciplines. 


The initial membership may just be sufficient in the short term to get the group discussions started, but there remains a significant risk of disentanglement between the group's discussions and the discussions in the research engineering community, particularly the different subdisciplinary stakeholder groups. The capacity of the initial membership seems only marginally adequate to effectively represent the voice of the stakeholders who might be the addressees of significant portions of the group's envisioned work. In particular, the voice of engineers as users involved in workflows or as customers of services and tools that are part of envisioned outcomes seems underrepresented.

Impact and Engagement:

No further comments.


To facilitate the progress of the group we approve the revised case statement and strongly urge the co-chairs and the members of the new IG to specifically address the concerns mentioned above during the group’s breakout session at the forthcoming RDA Plenary. 

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


Comments on the original charter



The scope and overall objectives of the group are very pertinent to the RDA vision. The group specifically recognises the important potential impact of data sharing across all engineering subdomains. To this respect the group could provision for a currently missing domain-specific aspect. The group charter could, however, benefit from improving the clarity of the short-term goals (described in the use cases of the charter) and a better (more focused) description of the challenges that the engineering communities of practice face around data sharing. A comprehensive list of RDA groups are listed in the charter, with which the proposed IG could interact. The type and method of interaction (and a high-level plan) is not provided, which could improve the efficicency of the group members to benefit from the expertise of the RDA diverse ecosystem of groups. A revision of the charter based on the following points is proposed.


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?)

The overall envisioned scope of the group is in line with the RDA mission and appropriately chosen for an IG. The subject matter of engineering is not considered with this scope by any existing group, though discipline-specific groups exist, but overlaps are not a major concern. The need for better RDM in engineering is a timely and relevant case for an RDA group to tackle.

However, the use cases given in the case statement are not convincing in terms of how they reflect important requirements and concerns of research data management specifically for *engineering*. There are existing RDA groups for both source code and legal aspects. It is not clear from the use case descriptions how this group would proceed beyond them, i.e., apply them driven from engineering specific concerns. Other concerns, such as common metadata schema(s) for engineering data, may also be a very relevant matter the engineering community may benefit from, but they are not mentioned specifically.



(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?) 

It is critical that the IG further improves the initial membership with representatives from the different engineering subdomains. This will be essential to allow the group to cover more of the subdomains in engineering. While research data management is a key concern of libraries, it would strengthen the groups' impact and relevance if users with their specific domain interests have a strong position in the group's agenda and the guiding use cases. This is not visible in the case statement.

In addition, it is also not clear how interaction with the mentioned previous bottom-up efforts will take place, whether the group is seen as a continuation or larger amalgamation of these efforts, and how the membership reflects such a potential ambition.

Standardization has a long history across engineering, but this is not reflected specifically in the case statement in terms of liaisoning with standards organizations, for example.


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 initial membership may suffice, but care must be taken that the potentially wide range of subdisciplines is represented by key stakeholders. It is not clear whether or how far this is achieved with the initial membership or what steps will be taken at the outset of the group to include a good fraction of the potentially wide area.

The case statement features a huge list of potentially related RDA groups. It remains unclear how interaction will be conducted and for practical reasons it is unrealistic to expect fruitful interaction with a majority of the mentioned groups. The interaction should, therefore, be more focused and defined more specifically, e.g., along use cases targeting specific subdisciplines.

The engagement with industry is commendable, and may work out well if the already mentioned concerns on legal aspects and potentially disclosing product details together with data sharing are addressed as envisioned. The inherent reluctance of industry actors to share data may present a challenge to long-term interaction, but the groups' recognition of these concerns may be adequate to address this.


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

Additional Comments: