Physical Samples and Collections in the Research Data Ecosystem IG


Group details

Secretariat Liaison: 
Stefanie Kethers
TAB Liaison: 
Paul Uhlir
IG Established

Physical samples are a basic element for reference, study, and experimentation in research.  Tests and analysis are conducted directly on samples, such as biological specimens, rock or mineral specimens, soil or sediment cores, plants and seeds, water quality samples, archaeological artefacts, or DNA and human tissue samples because they represent a wider population or a larger context. Other physical objects, such as maps or analogue images are also direct objects of study, and, if digitized, may become a source of digital data. There is an urgent need for better integrating these physical objects into the digital research data ecosystem, both in a global and in an interdisciplinary context to support search, retrieval, analysis, reuse, preservation and scientific reproducibility. This group aims to facilitate cross-domain exchange and convergence on key issues related to the digital representation of physical samples and collections, including but not limited to use of globally unique and persistent identifiers for samples to support unambiguous citation and linking of information in distributed data systems and with publications, metadata standards for documenting samples and collections and for landing pages, access policies, and best practices for sample and collection catalog, including a broad range of issues from interoperability to persistence.

Recent Activity

23 Jan 2020

Outcomes from ESIP session on Sample Metadata

Hello Everyone,
Earlier this month a session was hosted at ESIP entitled "Defining the
Bull's Eye of Sample Metadata". The purpose of this session was to 'define
what is the minimum set of attributes needed to describe physical
samples'. A full description of the session can be found here,
Outcomes from this session may be of interest to this community. Please
read the notes here

11 Jan 2020

EGU 2020 Call for abstracts: (Inter)National Treasures: Advancing access, accreditation, and use of physical samples and collections to accelerate discovery in the Earth, environmental, & planetary sciences

Hello Everyone,
The EGU General Assembly 2020 will be held during May 3-8 in Vienna,
Please consider submitting an abstract to the following session:
(Inter)National Treasures: Advancing access, accreditation, and use of
physical samples and collections to accelerate discovery in the Earth,
environmental, & planetary sciences.
*The deadline for abstract submission is January 15, 2020. *
*Abstract submission*:

21 Dec 2019

RDA P15 Melbourne - Session Acceptance

Dear Physical Samples and Collections in the Research Data Ecosystem Interest Group,
At its meeting on December 19, the RDA Technical Advisory Board considered your proposal for a session at Plenary 15 in 2020.
We are happy to advise you that your session proposal "Identifying physical samples and linking them to the global research data ecosystem" has been accepted. Congratulations!

02 Dec 2019

Join SESAR and EarthChem at the AGU 2019 Fall Meeting!

Hello Everyone,
This year SESAR and EarthChem will be involved in numerous events at the
AGU 2019 Fall Meeting. In particular, we invite you to join our SESAR User
Forum this Sunday December 8th at 2pm or any of the other events listed
User Forum on Physical Samples hosted by SESAR and IGSN e.V.
Sunday, 8 December 2:00pm -4:00pm in the Pacific Heights room at Cartwright
Hotel Union Square
SESAR and IGSN e.V. are hosting
an open forum on Physical Samples. This forum is for anyone interested in

28 Nov 2019

Deadline For P15 Group Session Submissions Extended To 5 December 2019

Dear RDA members, 


RDA's 15th Plenary meeting, Melbourne, Australia, 18-20 March 2020 


The deadline to submit session proposals for Plenary 15 in Melbourne, Australia has been extended to 5 December 2019, midnight UTC.

09 Oct 2019

P14 Session Chair Update

In preparation for Plenary 14 in Helsinki, please refer to the information presented below pertaining to your breakout sessions.


Remote Participation

  • Remote participation will be available in each meeting room through GoToMeeting, which will be running from the laptop provided by the University. By just opening your presentation on this laptop, remote attendees will be able to view your slides and hear you speak.