Investigating engagement in Research Data Alliance at a regional level


The Research Data Alliance (RDA) is a global network that aims to “build the social and technical bridges that enable open sharing of data“. Participation in the RDA is open to anyone who agrees to the RDA principles. Scientists come together through focused Working Groups, exploratory Interest Groups to exchange knowledge, share discoveries, discuss barriers and potential solutions, explore and define policies and test as well as harmonise standards to enhance and facilitate global data sharing. RDA Plenaries are held every six months in different places around the world, allowing participants to get involved in interesting discussions, get up-to-date with advances in their own research fields and identify opportunities for transdisciplinary collaborations.

Agro-Know is actively involved in the Agricultural Data Interest Group and the Wheat Data Interoperability Working Group of RDA, sharing its experience on information and knowledge management as well as the development of data-powered solutions based on open data; in fact, Agro-Know members have attended all RDA Plenaries so far 🙂

RDA_SEE_workshopAt this phase, RDA aims to identify the current status of engagement at a regional level and at the same time explore opportunities for enhanced participation at a regional level and in this context a number of regional workshops are organized. One of these workshops, titled “Engagement in RDA from South-Eastern Europe, Mediterranean and Caucasus region” took place on June 25th 2015 in Athens Greece.

RDA Regional Workshop for Southern-Eastern Europe, Mediterranean and Caucasus region

The event was organized by Athena Research & Innovation Information Technologies in collaboration with RDA Europe and attracted about 60 people from different countries (including Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Armenia and Georgia) and different disciplines but facing common data accessing, management and sharing issues. The main objective of the RDA SEE workshop is on one hand to present the RDA initiative, its main activities and working groups along with their initial outputs and on the other hand investigate the engagement of groups from the South Eastern Europe region in RDA.

Mark Parsons, RDA Secretary General from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA was a special guest and the link with RDA – he delivered an excellent presentation on data use & reuse in a meaningful way.

RDA Regional Workshop for Southern-Eastern Europe, Mediterranean and Caucasus region

This event consisted of a high number of interesting presentations on data-related issues, advances and work of relevance to RDA that takes place at a regional level. It also provided us with a great opportunity to present the work that is taking place in the two aforementioned RDA Groups and at the same time show the role of a Greek data-powered SME like Agro-Know’s in these global activities.


In the presentation, we also tried to identify the opportunities for enhancing participation in the RDA groups at a regional level and how this could take place. We strongly believe that this is a win-win situation; RDA groups would benefit from feedback provided by stakeholders (e.g. communities of researchers) that are not currently represented in RDA and at the same time, RDA’s outcomes could be validated and actually used by such communities that might be in dire need of data-powered solutions that are not available to them at this point. What we are currently missing is the identification of these communities in terms of people (researchers), organizations (research institutions) and even events that attract these communities.

We are currently working with the Wheat Data Interoperability WG of RDA in deploying a survey within the next months, that will allow us to identify people and organizations (among others) that are working with wheat research data all over the world. In this context, our colleague Charalampos Thanopoulos will travel to Versailles, France next week to attend the Wheat Group meeting and present the approach that we plan to follow in order to be able to identify, record and publish information to wheat data researchers and related organizations. Filtered information from the outcomes of this exercise would allow us to identify potential stakeholders at a regional and national level, that we are not currently aware of. A similar approach could be followed for the identification of the research communities in other contexts, that are not currently connected or represented in RDA.

We would like to thank Athena Research & Innovation Center for the kind invitation and especially Fotis Karayannis for the excellent communication regarding the event and our participation. You can find some photos from the event on our Flickr photostream and you can find the presentations from the event on the event’s website.

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