RDA EU call for action: European Data Economy must focus on interoperability - RDA Europe Statement on the European Data Economy

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30 Jan 2018

RDA EU call for action: European Data Economy must focus on interoperability - RDA Europe Statement on the European Data Economy

Summary of recommendations and Calls for Action

Data localisation restrictions are a too narrow focus for building a Data Economy - instead, interoperability on all levels should be systematically promoted:

Legal interoperability: Removing legislative barriers for data movement and re-use, critical assessment of existing and planned regulation and abolishing it where needed. For example, the scope of the text and data mining (TDM) exception in the proposal for Digital Single Market (DSM) directive on copyright must be widened also to cover commercial use.

Organisational interoperability: Solutions must be developed in collaboration with all stakeholders. There are already good examples of the implementation of federated data infrastructures in Europe.

Semantic interoperability: Data must be made understandable for the end-user no matter who and where it is being re-used. Existing semantic tools such as vocabularies, ontologies and enterprise architecture models should be leveraged. RDA Recommendations and Outputs must be adopted and the uptake should be systematically integrated into developing data infrastructures.

Technical interoperability: Making the infrastructures compatible is an elementary building block for sustainable data flows, exchange and re-use between different IT systems and software applications. This must be systematically promoted in parallel and consistently with all other layers of interoperability.

All parallel initiatives under the Digital Single Market umbrella must be developed coherently. Otherwise new barriers for data re-use will be created, which will seriously damage the efforts to build a European Data Economy. Europe needs a coherent legislative framework that supports data re-use. 

Existing work and achievements should be leveraged. The RDA Recommendations and Outputs provide concrete tools to build the social and technical infrastructures that enable open data sharing. Already four RDA Flagship Outputs have been recognised as ICT Technical Specifications by the European Commission, with four more to be officially published in the upcoming months. 

The RDA is a neutral forum that enables data interoperability and open data to be shared across barriers through focused Working Groups and Interest Groups, formed of experts from around the world –from academia, industry and government. It is a problem-solving platform for the data science and data management communities, and it should be used to its full potential to promote, discuss and reach consensus on solutions and practical implementation. Furthermore, data management should me recognized as an issue best promoted and regulated through the community of data producers, stewards and end-users.