RDA Interest Groups are comprised of experts from the community that are committed to directly or indirectly enabling data sharing, exchange, or interoperability. These groups develop brief charters that also undergo a review process before the group is endorsed by RDA. RDA endorsement is dependent upon the Interest Group serving as a platform for communication and coordination among individuals, outside and within RDA, with shared interests. They produce important deliverables such as surveys, recommendations, reports, and Working Group case statements.
These groups must have international participation and a demonstrated community and should not be for promoting specific projects or technologies. They are long-term initiatives within the RDA and remain in operation as long as they remain active, subject to periodic evaluation of their activity and its relevance to RDA aims. If an interest group has been inactive for six months, it may be disbanded by Council.
With respect to function and outcomes, Interest Groups may do one or more of the following:
- Serve as a platform that leads to the formation of one or more Working Groups. An existing Interest Group may refine their ideas into implementable actions by creating focused Case Statements to create one or more Working Groups. The process of establishing a Working Group is described in the “Creating or Joining an RDA Working Group” section.
- Support communication and coordination among a cluster of related Working Groups/Interest Groups that may be grouped by theme (e.g., research domain, data publishing, data life cycle component, etc.)
- Enable better communication and coordination across different Working Groups/Interest Groups (e.g., all domain-specific groups, all education groups, between technically oriented and domain-specific groups, etc.)
- Serve to communicate and coordinate with a specific community outside RDA, fostering synergies, bringing new groups/members to RDA and conversely bringing the WGs activities to the attention of external parties.
Interest Groups undergo a formal review (see Figure 1) before they are recognized and endorsed by RDA. Review criteria include the following:
- 2-4 co-chairs leading the initiative
- Members are international experts, ideally the group spans at least 3 continents
- Platform for communication and coordination around the topic of interest
- Not promoting one specific product or technology
- No overlap with existing IGs / WGs
Joining an Interest Group
A list of the currrent RDA Interest Groups can be found here. Any member of the RDA can join an Interest Group by navigating to the group's page and selecting "Subscribe to group" in the box titled "Group properties".
Creating an Interest Group
The prospective Interest Group (IG) puts together a short charter following the Interest Group Charter template, describing their activities and listing two to four co-chairs. One of the IG members (typically a chair) creates a new Interest Group via the “Initiate new group” tab in the “Creating and Managing RDA Groups” menu, changes the Group Type to "Interest Group", and adds the charter to this group. (The Secretariat is happy to help with this step, please email enquiries[at]rd-alliance.org if you would like assistance).
The Secretariat designates a liaison to work with the proposed IG, and will contact the IG chairs.
The Secretariat notifies the TAB, Council, and the broader community that the document has been posted and is now ready for community review. The community will be given at least four weeks to review and comment on the document.
If there have been significant comments, the IG is expected to post a revised Charter, based on the comments made during community review.
TAB reviews the IG charter. After TAB has accepted the Charter, TAB will designate a TAB member as liaison to the group.
Council reviews the IG charter in consultation with TAB, and makes one of four possible decisions:
- Recognized and endorsed as is: Strong Charter. Group is recognized as an RDA IG and should commence its work.
- Recognized and endorsed subject to specific revisions: Worthwhile idea, changes need to be made to strengthen the Charter and meet approval criteria. After the approach has been modified, the group will be recognized by RDA and commence its work.
- Encouraged but not presently endorsed: Good idea but needs refinement. The group needs to mature its concept and refine its Charter for approval. Council and/or TAB will provide specific feedback and clarification on what is needed.
- Not endorsed: The idea is not a good fit for the RDA or does not meet other criteria for approval. Council will provide specific feedback and clarification.
The group’s revision contact, a member of TAB, Council, or the Secretariat, will notify the IG of the review outcomes and inform the group who will be working with them on any remaining issues.
Once the document has been revised, the group chair should post it in its Discussion group. Council and TAB will then review the document again.
If Council perceives reasonable community consistence and clear needs, deliverables, and beneficiaries, they formally recognize the group.
Once the IG is recognised, the Secretariat will help the IG establish working, communication, and recording processes. Joint activities with RDA affiliates are encouraged.
Figure 1: IG Charter Review Process.
RDA Working and Interest Group Chairs: Roles and Responsibilities
- Recruiting Group Members
- Obtaining Approval to Initiate a RDA WG or IG
- Administering Operations
- Reporting on Outcomes and Adoption Activities
Interest Group Charter Template