10 Key social challenges for sharing data

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06 Aug 2021
Group(s) submitting the application: 
Meeting objectives: 

This will be the 4th Plenary meeting of the Social Dynamics of Data Interoperability Interest Group. Identifying and naming the specific challenges related to sharing data was a key theme of the RDA17 session. In particular, challenges identified in the work of Hanna Shmagun on “Open Science at a time of the COVID-19 pandemic” sparked much discussion. Following on from this, this session will focus on identifying the top 10 social challenges of data sharing. For example, identifying organisational structures that enable or hinder data sharing, identifying why individuals experience data sharing hesitancy. 


At this meeting attendees will:

  1. Learn about the social and institutional enablers and barriers for data sharing and interoperability from each other and invited speaker Dr. Steven McEachern (Director, Australian Data Archive, Australian National University).

  2. Contribute to a discussion of how these enablers and barriers relate to their experience, with a focus on social dynamics impact adoption of the FAIR principles.

  3. Co-design (both within the session and beyond) a survey to gather responses from the RDA community on this topic.

The meeting objective is to provide targeted discussion on data sharing challenges. This will be focused around the curation of questions to be used to develop a survey to investigate this topic. This will focus the next steps of the IG, which are anticipated to be the development and implementation of a survey, the analysis of results, and the publication of associated outputs.

  • Meeting presenters

Dr. Steven McEachern (Director, Australian Data Archive, Australian National University) will give an invited presentation on the challenges and oportunities of social aspects of data sharing.





Meeting agenda: 

Collaborative session notes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xuwo9Pc5K3kMZccwvhbIfImeC-Wt2KcQdRe1iaV5xfI/edit?usp=sharing

  1. Introduction (15 minutes)
  2. Invited talk: Social challenges for data sharing (15 min + 10 min Q&A)
  3. Discussion activity focused on the following key questions (45 min). The questions gathered here will inform the development of a survey and output on the social dynamics that influence the implication of the FAIR principles.
    1. What questions could we ask about the social aspects that foster or hinder making data Findable?
    2. What questions could we ask about the social aspects that foster or hinder making data Accessible?
    3. What questions could we ask about the social aspects that foster or hinder making data Interoperable?
    4. What questions could we ask about the social aspects that foster or hinder making data Reusable?
  4. Meeting close (5 minutes)
  5. Next steps, plan for outputs, and call for contributors.


Target Audience: 

The Social Dynamics of Data Interoperability Interest Group has drawn new interest each Plenary (i.e. we regularly have new community members attend the sessions). We now aim to consolidate this community interest to develop a consistent following of community members from across the globe who are active in the IG. To this end, we will target members who have signed up to the IG page (https://www.rd-alliance.org/node/63042/members). We will also focus on attracting new members from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Global South. We will cultivate relationships within RDA IGs by leverage existing connections with the following groups to diversify our membership:

  • Sensitive Data Interest Group

  • Ethics and Social Aspects of Data Interest Group

  • Social Science Data Interest Group


In the lead up to RDA18, we ran a community meeting where we discussed key topics related to social dynmaics of data sharing. Notes from meeting here. For a history of the IG and its activities, visit the wiki page.

Group chair serving as contact person: 
Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group: 

Extensive work has been, and continues to be done on data interoperability at the technical and information domains. However, a large portion of the challenges in building interoperable information infrastructures are the result of the interplay between organisations, institutions, economics, and individuals. In other words, the human element of the systems - the people who collect and curate data, develop information on data sharing, and design systems and the institutional constructs around them that reward (or otherwise) the sharing of data.  Collectively, these form what we call the “social dynamics” that foster or hinder the progress towards achieving technical and information Interoperability.


Social Dynamics are some of the most difficult challenges to address. Currently there is a limited body of work on how to address these challenges in a systematic way. In keeping with the mission of the RDA, the focus of this group is to focus on what is required to build the social bridges that enable open sharing and re-use of data.  The focus of this interest group is to identify opportunities for the development of systematic approaches to address the key social challenges and to build a corpus of knowledge on building and operating interoperable information infrastructures.

Short Group Status: 

Yet to be formally endorsed

Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Avoid conflict with the following group (2): 
Meeting presenters: 
Please see Meeting Objectives above