RDA cross-disciplinary collaboration for addressing societal challenges

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05 Dec 2019

RDA cross-disciplinary collaboration for addressing societal challenges

Group leading the application: 
Meeting agenda: 

Collaborative Notes Link:

This is a working meeting, focusing on the interaction between participants.

Preliminary agenda 

1. Setting the scene - Fit-for-purpose data for addressing SDG Targets and monitoring progress (presentation - 15 min)

2. RDA disciplinary groups and cross-disciplinary collaboration - Where do we stand? (presentation - 15 min)

3. Disscussion - part I - Mapping RDA groups in the solution space for SDGs (interactive session - 60 min)

4. Success stories - how communities of practice have embedded data resources in SDG and SDG-derived national goals (presentations - 30 min)

5. Disscussion - part II - Building stronger narratives together (interactive session - 60 min)

The agenda will be slightly modified once more contributions from the invited disciplinary IGs have been received. The discussion time (2 hours) should be, however, considered a protected charactiristic of the symposium (two sessions).




Meeting objectives: 

RDA has over the years developed into a focal point of discipline-specific communities of practice. More than 20 Interest and Working groups already benefit from their activity in RDA to overcome hurdles around data sharing in support of scientific innovation and societal change. The Disciplinary Collaboration Framework IG has been focusing in bringing together representatives from those groups to better understand how to improve their overall sociotechnical intefaces in order to empower cross-disciplinarity. At the same time the Sustainable Development Goals IG is gearing up in RDA looking how RDA develops better tools and narratives to support scientific communities working towards the Targets included in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDGs provide a global, unified prioritisation framework on how sceintific communities design and organise their work. They have been the main reference point for adopting regional (e.g. European) and national-level priorities around societal change and provide a unique roadmap on how scientists need to frame their work.

In the area of research data, however, we still need to improve the way we frame our data and infrastructure interoperability efforts to provide more efficient and better understood tools for the SDGs.

The topic cross cuts the entire ecosystem of RDA and can provide a better definition of the value of RDA work, and specifically through the activities of the disciplinary groups, towards key societal challenges. As such, to effectively adress it, we propose a mega-symposium (length of 2 sessions) that would look at all major dimensions including data, infrastructure and practices.

The overarching goal of the symposium is to:

Deliver better narratives on how RDA groups and their respective data communities contribute to the SDGs

The objectives of the Symposium include:

1.  Raising awareness of SDGs and their role in defining research agendas at national and international level

2. Describing the RDA ecosystem of disciplinary groups and if and how they already engage in SDG Targets and their progress monitoring through data infrastructures

3. Develop a concensus view on the how RDA work links to globally acknowledged challenges

4. Develop a set of strong narratives that drive disciplinary collaboration at RDA level and narratives that help external stakeholders to understand the value of RDA work (and its communities) towards SDGs

Short Group Status: 


Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group(s): 

Disciplinary Collaboration Framework IG

The group aims at bringing together representatives across disciplinary communities in an effort to better organise and drive the discussion for prioritising, harmonising and efficiently articulating communities’ needs. The group will gradually support the development of a common disciplinary interoperability framework. The group continues to seek mechanisms through which it can improve the cross-disciplinary collaboration in the context of RDA and strives to organise joint meetings as a way to develop effective interfaces between RDA communities of practice. Minutes from the last DCF joint session can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Bta5KpVyKBxDH51CiaJky0w-Irzv3jeT75aldnwPBS0/edit

RDA for the Sustainable Development Goals IG 

Interoperability of data remains a barrier to collecting, storing, merging, and analyzing data for monitoring SDG metrics effectively - and improving data interoperability may both enhance monitoring, as well as help to enable and support progress towards achieving the SDGs. Achieving interoperable data to advance the SDGs will require best practices, recommendations, technologies, and support of capacity building - which is in direct alignment with many of RDA’s ongoing and upcoming outputs, recommendations, interest group, and working group activities. 

Objectives and scope of the Interest group activities will fall into two categories:

  1. Improved data management/sharing of SDG indicator data, based on implementation and adaptation of RDA outputs within workflows surrounding the SDGs and NGO development space more broadly.
  2. Assessing the impact of data infrastructure, and associated quality and limitations thereof, as a component of sustainable development. Defining the value and importance of data infrastructure within sustainable development overlaps directly with the infrastructure-related SDG indicators. More broadly, defining and justifying the importance of data infrastructure will clarify this need to funders supporting development initiatives, researchers and admins supporting the work of development monitoring, and future policy development.

Data for Development IG

This interest group focuses on the access to and usage of data from a variety of sources of relevance to development studies, human rights, conflict research and vulnerable and hidden populations. Whereas many intergovernmental organizations have a tradition of open data access routines and policies to data they have collected, data collected by non-governmental organizations are often not available for further usage. Also relevant data collected by university institutes and research organizations are often not shared with the community and increasingly also the question is raised which contribution big data may have in this area and how to collect, use, share and analyze these data.

Earth, Space and Environmental Science IG

The Earth, space, and environmental science (ESES) communities are developing, through multiple international efforts, both general and domain-specific leading practices for data management, infrastructure development, vocabularies, and common data/digital services. The ESES IG focuses on increasing awareness, and coordination where applicable, of dependent efforts across the international Earth, space, and environmental science communities. Within RDA, we hope to leverage the existing working groups and interest groups to help integrate and coordinate the needs of the Earth, space, and environmental sciences with the objectives and deliverables across those related efforts, including support of the Sustainable Development Goals. For more details on recent work: https://www.rd-alliance.org/groups/esiprda-earth-space-and-environmental-sciences-ig

Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Remote participation availability (only for physical Plenaries): 
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