Identifying physical samples and linking them to the global research data ecosystem

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04 Dec 2019
Meeting objectives: 

If you are a member of RDA, you can join the Physical Samples and Collections in the Research Data Ecosystem IG by going to the group page and clicking “Join Group” on the right hand side. If you are not an RDA member, you can join RDA here: (it’s free!) 

The proposed session has the following objectives:

  • To introduce the Interest Group to new audiences 
  • To discuss the multidisciplinary aspect of physical samples and how persistent and globally unique identification of samples enables linkage to the global research data ecosystem.
  • To discuss challenges, pros, and cons of different identifier systems for the various use cases  
  • To seek input and feedback from participants and other RDA WGs/IGs for future activities
Meeting agenda: 
  • 0-10 minutes (10 minutes): Introduction and tour de table, including a survey of which sample types and communities are present in the audience.
  • 10-20 minutes (10 minutes): Status update from Helsinki 
  • 20-30 minutes (10 minutes): Report on the Beijing Declaration on Research Data
  • 30-75 minutes (45 minutes): Cross-disciplinary discussion on physical samples in the global research data ecosystem with panel members (TBA) from archaeology, agriculture, biology and biodiversity, geology, material science 
  • 75-90 minutes (15 minutes): Discussion of future activities of the Interest Group and links to other RDA WGs/IGs
Target Audience: 

The target audience of this meeting includes:

  1. Research data repository developers and providers who manage sample-based data;
  2. Curators and developers from sample repositories, museums, and other institutions who maintain physical sample collections and related digital sample and collection catalogues;
  3. Publishers and editors of journals that publish sample-based data; and
  4. Other stakeholders interested in topics such as persistent identifiers, metadata standards, and interoperability protocols for samples and sample-based data.
Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group: 

Physical samples are a basic element for reference, study, and experimentation in research. Tests and analyses 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. 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 a diverse range of samples and collections and for landing pages; access policies; and best practices for sample and collection cataloguing, including a broad range of issues from interoperability to persistence.
Short Group Status: 

The group formed in Montreal and P10 and has met at each plenary ever since as follows:

  1. P10 Montreal (Sept 2017): IG Physical Samples and Collections in the Research Data Ecosystem
  2. P11 Berlin (March 2018): IG Physical Samples and Collections in the Research Data Ecosystem
  3. P12 Gaborone (Nov 2018): Physical Samples and Collections in the Research Data Ecosystem IG
  4. P13 Philadelphia (April 2019): IG Physical Samples and Collections in the Research Data Ecosystem (IG - PSACIRDE)
  5. P14 Helsinki (Oct 2019): Designing a pathway towards Implementing a Transdisciplinary Data Infrastructure for Physical Samples
Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Avoid conflict with the following group (2):