Since 2016, the Professionalising Data Stewardship Interest Group (RDA-PDS-IG) has fostered volunteer teams to advance global research community priorities. Simultaneously, national and regional efforts were formed such as the EOSC Data Stewardship Task Forces on Data Stewardship curricula and career paths. There have been also several outputs produced by IG task groups on various aspects of data stewardship.
In this session, we will hear a couple of national initiatives on professionalizing Data Stewardship and get an overview on the status of current active task groups (terminology, models and career tracks) within the IG.There will also be a mini workshop to discuss the takeaways from the data steward career track survey and actions that could be taken to make Data Stewardship as a Profession.
5 min Opening and Introduction: IG history and updates on co-chairs
30min Recent national initiatives on professionalising Data Stewardship
10min Updates from active IG Task Groups
- TG 2 Terminology
- TG3 Data Stewardship models
30min Mini workshop on IG's data steward career track survey results
15min Discussion and Closing
This Interest Group brings together those interested in professionalising data stewardship and who are actively developing data stewardship models, training and practice, and creating career tracks. This session is most relevant to administrators, funders and policy-makers interested in fostering data stewardship practices and establishing professional roles for data stewards at an institutional and national level, those managing or developing data stewardship programs, scholars of data stewardship, and research data stewards. This session may be of interest to the broader data professional community, including data librarians, data managers, data scientists, data archivists, IT staff, research support staff, managers and executives. Future data stewards are also welcome.
Overview: Data stewardship and data management are essential research skills. The lack of consensus on the responsibilities, knowledge, skills, and value of data stewards leads to confusion about how data stewardship complements data management. Unclear professional standards and models for data stewardship also hamper the development of a trained, data steward workforce for research institutions. A shared body of knowledge (BOK) for data stewardship professionals has yet to emerge, although dedicated trainings for data stewards are occuring. The various types of data stewardship model are not yet well understood, nor are the unique needs of data stewards as compared to data managers and data privacy professionals who have access to global community supported BOKs, professional networks, and events through associations such as DAMA-I and the IAPP.
Scope: With scarce resources to support data stewardship at many institutions, this RDA Interest Group aims to host discussions, support inter-agency collaboration, and foster global teams developing resources that aid in the development, recruitment, and training of data stewards.
Activity History: After BoF sessions at P14, P15, the RDA-PDS-IG was formally endorsed just after VP16. From 2016-2021, eight areas of interest were identified and advanced by IG members. Progress made in each area varied based on volunteer capacity, interest, and commitment. Initial topics of interest included: 1) a business case for data stewardship, 2) data stewardship terminology, 3) the integration of data stewardship across an organisation, 4) data steward job profiles, 5) training, 6) career tracks, 7) networking and knowledge exchange, and 8) certification. Task group activity occurs between plenaries with varying success depending on the capacity of task team members. Several IG outputs have been recognized as RDA outputs, including the survey report and output data on Current Models of Data Stewardship, Data Stewardship Landscape Initial Report, Data Stewardship Landscape Report Resource Matrix.
IG Communications and Engagement: Active group leads and RDA-PDS-IG Co-Chairs meet regularly for progress updates and plenary session planning. Plenary meetings will continue to allow for new members to join. Between Plenaries, RDA-PDS-IG Co-Chairs communicate updates to the public through the RDA Interest Group webpage posts and events (https://www.rd-alliance.org/groups/professionalising-data-stewardship-ig). Regular community-wide communications occur in the open RDA-PDS-IG Slack community and it’s sub-channels for focused work efforts (rdadatastewardship.slack.com). Since beginning 2023, monthly IG-wide meetings have been organized by co-chairs to strengthen the community communication. Knowledge sharing also is encouraged through a developing RDA-PDS-IG Zenodo Community (https://zenodo.org/communities/rda-pds-ig/).
In recognition of the volunteer commitment necessary to develop such materials for the RDA community, and waxing and waning volunteer engagement, in 2022 the RDA-PDS-IG Co-Chairs refocused effort on a few task groups. At the moment, the active teams include: terminology for data stewardship, data stewardship models, data stewardship training, and data stewardship career tracks. To further connect the work from different teams, the IG identified two themes to steer the future direction of the group: Data Stewardship as a Service and Data Stewardship as a Profession. The themes will be introduced at P21 and active teams will give an update on their status and next plan.
In addition to task group activities, the monthly IG wide meeting reactivate active conversations and exchanges across different countries. At P21, we will hear some national initiatives on Data Stewardship and have a mini workshop on data steward career track. To increase collaborations with other global data stewardship efforts, Co-Chairs have also been actively meeting with other aligned efforts. The IG has joined forces with the EOSC Task Force on data stewards curricula and career paths. These two teams are having regular working meetings to prepare a joint workshop on career paths.
The IG will also aim to support the spin off of RDA working groups and the creation of a Community of Practices to facilitate the transformation of IG outputs into practical applications.