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BoF – Harmonizing FAIR descriptions of observational data – RDA 13th Plenary meeting

  • Creator
  • #134399

    Barbara Magagna

    Meeting Title:
    Harmonizing FAIR descriptions of observational data (Remote Access Instructions)
    New Title of the planned WG:
    Interoperability of Observable Property Descriptions WG
    Collaborative session notes:
    Meeting Location: Commonwealth A2
    Meeting objectives
    The main purpose of this meeting is to create an official RDA working group under the umbrella of VSSIG (Vocabulary and Semantic Services Interest Group).
    The objective of this WG is:
    Improve research data interoperability through the harmonization of observable property descriptions with community agreed semantic model and existing terminologies
    Identified tasks:

    Collect research observation use cases suitable to demonstrate the value of a common approach

    Review existing semantic models for observable properties

    Evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the different semantic models using the selected use cases

    Based on this review and analysis develop a community consensus for the semantic modelling of observable properties

    (Analyse the applicability in other languages)  

    Evaluate suitable terminologies with atomic terms needed to describe observable properties according to the semantic model

    Test the semantic model with the selected terminologies on the collected use cases

    Compile best practices for semantic model usage

    Develop alignments of the semantic model with alternative related models

    Inform and collaborate with other relevant efforts (e.g., W3C)

    Identified deliverables:

    Semantic model

    Best practices


    Potential case studies of implementations of the common model

    For the envisaged working group the identification of terminologies and the alignment effort (steps 6 and 7) is limited to observable properties. A further working group as follow up could continue work on topics such as observation and measurement methods, devices and units if desired. 
    Specific objectives for the meeting are:

    Presentation, discussion and general agreement on the objective and tasks
    Identification of additional partners, especially from beyond the European Union, and of task leads

    Meeting agenda
    G. Moncoiffe (10 min):

    Motivation – Why we want to harmonize descriptions of observational data
    Summary of activities so far in the informal group
    Presentation of outputs of the WG, as proposed in the draft case statement

    Lightning talks from other RDA groups 3 min each (30 min):

    Dimitris Koureas: Biodiversity Data Integration IG
    Jane Wyngard: Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems’ Data IG
    Helen Glaves: Marine Data Harmonization IG
    Kerstin Lehnert: Physical Samples IG
    Tobias Weigel: Data Type Registries WG/Data Fabric IG
    Amy Nurnberger: Education and Training on handling of research data IG
    Thomas Jejkal: Research Data Repository Interoperability WG
    Fotis Psomopoulos: Using and enriching metadata to enable/boost FAIRness on research resource BoF

    Each of the ligthning talk should address following questions:

    Parameters: Which sort of parameters/properties do you deal with?
    Vocabularies: Do you use controlled vocabularies to describe these?
    Strategies: What, if any, is your strategy to reconcile redundancies, synonymy/near-synonymy across vocabularies? And how do you deal with complex properties such as monthly mean dissolved lead (ppb) in water?
    Expectations: What do you expect from a harmonizing parameter description working group?

    Discussion (facilitated by Mike Brown & John Watkins, wrapped up by Mark Schildhauer, John Graybeal taking notes – 50 min)
    Topics: tasks, additional partners and task leads identification
    This session will be relevant for: 

    Data providers/publishers
    Individual researchers
    Ontology engineers
    Research infrastructures
    Digital libraries

    If you want to join the group check this link:…
    Short description
    The scientific community produces large amounts of data about the attributes and behaviours of observed entities collected in research studies, particularly in the life and earth sciences. This includes measurements taken by sensors and observations of living individuals.

    In the real world of scientific monitoring and research, the conceptualization of observable variables can be complex. They are often reported using simple terms (such as “temperature”) or an association of such terms (e.g. “air temperature”, “body temperature”) that are often syntactically concise. However, such compact labelling is invariably ambiguous to users which are not familiar with the observation context and often obscures the meaning for machines. In order to be described without ambiguity, any given measurement value must be associated with a term from a FAIR terminology that precisely links meaning with syntax. Clarity is further enhanced if terms adopt syntax which, itself, is consistent and descriptive of the phenomena measured; for example, “Temperature of the air in the room”, “Temperature of the air in the atmosphere”, “Temperature of the human body”, “Concentration of total petroleum hydrocarbons per gram dry weight of sediment

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