PERICLES Poster at the Research Data Alliance Third Plenary in Dublin
Three of the PERICLES team, Simon Waddington (KCL), Christian Muller (B.USOC) and David De Weerdt (SpaceApps) attended the third plenary of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) from 26-28th March 2014. The meeting was held at the conference centre within the impressive Croke Park stadium, which plays host to a variety of Irish sport, including Gaelic football and hurling.
The purpose of the Research Data Alliance is to accelerate international data-driven innovation and discovery by facilitating research data sharing and exchange, use and re-use, standards harmonization, and discoverability.
The meeting was attended by over 470 delegates from a wide range of organisations and roles ranging from librarians and archivists to data centre staff and scientists. The opening was attended by the Irish minister for Technology, as well as representatives of the Australia who were to co-hosts.
The PERICLES project took part in the poster session, which ran over the second and third days of the meeting, which provided a good opportunity to raise awareness amongst the RDA community.
The meeting was a mixture of plenary sessions and group meetings. An exciting aspect of the RDA is that it is almost completely community driven. The three types of meeting reflected a pipeline in the activities, starting from the Birds of a Feather idea generation sessions, to Interest Group meetings, with an established charter, and Working Group meetings, with a clearer commitment to a defined set of outcomes. The RDA is largely resourced by volunteer effort. Representatives from the EC DGCONNECT were also present throughout the meeting.
Many of the discussions touched on themes relating to PERICLES. Digital preservation was mentioned in many of the sessions, both in the context of science but also in the humanities and digital library fields. One impression is that digital preservation was viewed in many presentations as an integral part of the content lifecycle rather than an add-on that would be nice to have.
The Data in Context Working Group held two sessions, which were looking at the representation of contextual metadata relating to research data, and content lifecycles. Several groups already exist relating to big data analytics and infrastructure, and the attendance at these meetings reflected the huge current interest in this area. The Libraries for Research Data BoF session was examining the evolving role of librarians, particularly with respect to the management of research data, and the skills and professional development that would be required to support this.
The RDA meeting was preceded by a number of co-located events, mostly organised by FP7 projects such as EUDAT and SCIDIP. Such events might provide an opportunity for PERICLES in the future for community engagement and training activities.
Overall the impression was of a large and vibrant community that will surely continue to grow and mature in the next few years.