The research landscape - like other sectors - is undergoing constant, but increasingly faster transformations. We see certain trends emerging, data taking on an increasingly central role in all disciplines, we see data from different disciplines increasingly being integrated, R&D becoming way more interdisciplinary than what we were used to see 10-20 years ago. We also see a lot of intiatives both globally (Europe: EOSC, Africa: AOSP) as well as institutionally, addressing these digital transformation challenges. This will have impact on what we discuss and design in terms of research infrastructures, services, policies and ways of cooperating right now.
Having discussed this idea with a number of colleagues we feel there would be room for a yet to be more precisely identified WG (or IG) engaging with researchers from the broad set of domains present in RDA to extract some visions on how research will be in 5-25 years, and what the effect and impact on research environments (infrastructures, services, policies, ...) will be.
The goal could be to, e.g., establish a WG (or IG) that defines scenarios and derives service recommendations pinpointing the researchers' needs in these changing times and environments, which in turn would be a valuable basis for decision makers, industry and resarch infrastructures to understand which servies or policies to develop, solutions to provide, priorities to set, ...
- What is it that is making research more complex and difficult than it would need to be?
- Which services could make our lives easier (might be as simple as eduroam which is an almost unnoticed blessing taken for granted by now).
- Which policies and guidances are missing?
- How can we ensure broad participation across regions and disciplines in the sophisticated research environments emerging?
The result might be a form of vision document providing e.g. ranked lists for services, policies, infrastructures needed or pain-points to be abolished to make researchers' life easier and to allow us to focus on efficient, interdisciplinary R&D in the years to come.
We've - over the years - established phantastic solutions within each community, labs, infrastructures to be shared, tools, services, ... But the digitization wave and the trend to work more interdisciplinary will require new things, maybe radically new things. Some brainstorming, putting some concrete visions on the table for us and others then to pick up, evaluate and - if we are lucky - develop and deploy seems like a great opportunity to stretegically shape and drive the digital transformation in the scientific landscape.