• :
  • Group Focus:
  • :
  • :
  • Group Description

    The initial idea of establishing this working group was presented during P6 in Paris in the Repository Platforms for Research Data IG session. Shortly after P6 a telephone conference was carried out with the conclusion to prepare a case statement and to finalize it during a BoF session at P7. The initial co-chairs are David Wilcox and Thomas Jejkal. Contacts to potential co-chairs from Asia were already made during P6 and will be finalized during P7.

    For more information please visit the web page of this BoF group:



    The Research Data Repository Interoperability Working Group will establish standards for interoperability between different research data repository platforms focusing on machine-machine communication. These standards may include (but are not limited to) a generic API specification and import/export formats summarized in a document serving as an implementation guide for adoption. The scope of this document and all the WG’s activities will be defined by the following list of initial use cases:

    • Migration/Replication of a Digital Object between research data repository platforms

      • Platform, data model and/or version may differ between source and destination

    • Retrieval of information related to the platform and/or its contents

      • E.g. to register the system in a (repository) registry or to harvest contents

    This initial list might be extended in the first phase of the WG’s operational time.

    In order to cover these use cases, existing standards and technologies will be identified and evaluated in the second phase. Evaluation results will be summarized in a separate deliverable and will form the basis of the final deliverable. During the evaluation phase, the preparatory work of other RDA WGs will be used as far as possible along with experiences gathered by the RDRI WG’s members during their work with and on existing research data repository platforms.

    In the final phase the WG will strive for a consensus regarding a generic API specification and/or import/export formats needed for offering the listed functionalities. The final deliverable will then contain this consensus in a form such that it can be used as an implementation guide for later adoption.

    Value Proposition

    The Research Data Repository Interoperability working group will provide recommendations and implementation guidelines (e.g. for a generic API or import/export formats) for research data repository interoperability that can be integrated by platform developers and service providers. Therefore, existing standards and technologies will be evaluated and integrated where possible. Once adopted widely, these outcomes will allow institutions and organizations with research data repositories to deposit, access and share their data in a common way and to disseminate repository resources and contents to clients and services easily. For adopters and their users this means:

    Removing Barriers: Defining and implementing interoperability standards for realizing the use cases mentioned above could help to identify and to acquire datasets stored in other platforms not available before in order to enrich the own research.

    Easier Collaboration: Having a common way to exchange datasets stored in different research data repository platform instances from different institutions or even disciplines can help to identify new starting points for (inter-)disciplinary collaborations.

    Creating Commonalities: Agreeing on and implementing common standards for realizing typical research data repository tasks might bring adopters closer together. For the future this could result in fruitful collaborations extending the basic set of functionalities that have been proposed by this WG.

    As everything rises and falls with the adoption of the results, repository platform developers contributing to this group have agreed to implement the results as early adopters.

    Engagement with Existing Work

    A number of related standardization efforts have already taken place; for example, the OAI protocol for metadata harvesting, the SWORD protocol for repository deposits, and the re3data.org schema for collecting information on research data repositories for registration. The Research Data Repository Interoperability WG will review these and other related standards to see how they might be adopted or extended to support our goals. This review period will ensure that we do not duplicate existing efforts.

    Related Work

    Related RDA Groups

    Work Plan

    The work of the proposed group is organized in three phases framed by the RDA plenary meetings beginning with P8.



    Main Participants

    September 2016

    Official start of RDRI WG at P8, working session at P8 for analyzing state of the art

    Session participants in an open discussion

    September – December 2016

    Identification and discussion of additional use cases and adoptable technologies. Mapping of technologies for potential adoption to single functionalities.

    Registered members

    January – April 2016

    Create a primer document describing all use cases and technologies for potential adoption. The document also points out gaps not covered by existing technologies.


    April 2016

    Session during P9 to present the primer document and to prepare next steps, e.g. identification of functionalities or exchange formats.

    WG members

    April 2016 – September 2017

    Discussion of functionalities, exchange formats and intended behavior. Create first draft of specification document.

    Registered members

    September 2017

    Presentation of the specification draft at P10 and identification of open points and potential improvements.

    Session participants in an open discussion

    September – March 2018

    Find consensus regarding final specification and write final deliverable serving as implementation/adoption guideline.

    Registered members/co-chairs (writing)

    March 2018

    Present final results at P11.




    D1. Research Data Repository Interoperability Primer (M6): This document describes targeted use cases, needed functionalities, as well as existing technologies and their feasibility for adoption. Gaps not covered by existing technologies are also described in this document.

    D2. Interface Specification Draft (M12): A first draft document of the final specification. The document gives a basic overview of functionalities, exchange formats and intended behavior targeted by the WG to cover the defined use cases. This document will be the basis for finding a consensus between all WG members.

    D3. Interface Specification (M18): This specification represents a consensus of all partners regarding an interoperable repository interface. It describes all functionalities provided by this interface including exchange formats and the expected behavior of a repository platform implementing the interface. This document serves as guideline for adopting the results of this working group.

    Mode and Frequency of Operation

    The Research Data Repository Interoperability WG will primarily communicate asynchronously online using the mailing list functionality provided by RDA. Online voice meetings will be scheduled as needed; likely once per month. When possible, in-person meetings will also be scheduled; these will take place at RDA plenaries and at other conferences where a sufficient number of group members are in attendance.

    Addressing Consensus and Conflicts

    Group consensus will be achieved primarily through mailing list discussions, where opposing views will be openly discussed and debated amongst members of the group. If consensus cannot be achieved in this manner, the group co-chairs will make the final decision on how to proceed.

    The co-chairs will keep the working group on track by setting milestones and reviewing progress relative to these targets. Similarly, scope will be maintained by tying milestones to specific dates, and ensuring that group work does not fall outside the bounds of the milestones or the scope of the working group.

    Community Engagement

    The working group case statement will be disseminated to mailing lists in communities of practice related to research data and repositories in an effort to cast a wide net and attract a diverse, multi-disciplinary membership. Group activities, where appropriate, will also be published to related mailing lists and online forums to encourage broad community participation.

    Adoption Plan

    Representatives of several major repository platforms have already joined this working group, including:

    These representatives have agreed to consider implementing the standards recommended by the Research Data Repository Interoperability WG in their respective repository platforms. We will continue to seek representatives from a variety of repository platforms and services to ensure that this working group’s deliverables are widely adopted.

    Initial Membership


    Thomas Jejkal

    David Wilcox



    Stefan Funk

    Ralph Mueller-Pfefferkorn

    Robert Olendorf

    Rick Johnson

    Ulrich Schwardmann

    Ajinkya Prabhune

    Andrew Woods 

    Wolfram Horstmann

    Cynthia Hudson Vitale

    Adam Soroka 

    Jared Whiklo

    Colleen Fallaw

    Rainer Stotzka

    Stephen Abrams

    Eleni Castro

    Amy Nurnberger

    Andre Schaaff

    Christopher Harrison

    Holger Mickler

    Jibo Xie

    Juanle Wang

    Muhammad Naveed Tahir

    Niclas Jareborg

    Shaun de Witt

    Volker Hartmann

    William Gunn

    Wouter Haak


  • Group Email

  • Group Type: Historical Group
  • Group Status: Completed
  • Co-Chair(s): Thomas Jejkal, David Wilcox

Leave a Reply