On 30 April 2021, GO FAIR US hosted a Data Stewardship Interest Group Meeting with roughly 70 registered attendees from the following organizations:

NIH, NHLBI, NIEH, ORNL, SDSC, Figshare, 18F, GSA, Notre Dame, Lyrasis, U of Rio de Janeiro, U of Cincinnati, KIU, U of Illinois, Musée de la Civilisation, AGU, U of New Mexico, OME, Axveco, BLM, BNL, NCRI, NASA, LBL, Research Space, CDC, CNA, RENCI, Embrapa, CNB, OSTI, African Union, U of Iowa, KM, RSU, U of Ljubljana, HESC, Maastricht U, FSU, Smartlogic, RTI, DOE, Sage Bionetworks, U of Manchester, Brac University, UK Polar Data Centre, NRCC, UCLA, UBC, JPL, Grenoble U, Cornell, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

The meeting was not US centric and was open to all. We began with Katie Knight (ORNL) providing background on the challenges that data stewards face, from her perspective at ORNL. Slides from the background session are available here. Katie then guided us through a Menti session where we polled the attendees on the following points:

  • What are core competencies for Data Stewards? (CSV)
  • How many Data Stewards does your workplace employ? (JPG, CSV)
  • What kind of Data Stewardship training is needed? (JPG, CSV)
  • I would like a FAIR Data Stewardship community to… (JPG, CSV)

The poll results from the Menti session can be found above via the exported CSV and JPG. Beyond the challenges that we responded to in the Menti poll, it was clear that we needed to connect with the Research Data Alliance Professionalizing Data Stewardship Interest Group via Debora Drucker (Embrapa), as our liaison. Four pillars that we focused on in our follow up discussion, attended by Katie, Debora, Sandra Gesing (Notre Dame), and Chris Erdmann (AGU), included:

  • An open email list that can facilitate communication between many of us interested in data stewardship (that might not attend RDA for various reasons). Many of us still use listservs that are run out of universities or organizations and an open solution like this that can be archived, open, and available to all.
  • A website that is search engine optimized (SEO) where materials shared by the community and RDA outputs by the Professionalizing Data Stewardship can be more easily discovered via a web search. Material via the RDA website is not entirely discoverable vs the other examples that were brought up during the discussion such as the US Research Software Engineers group or GO FAIR US. These example solutions are open for community contributions and collaboration via GitHub.
  • A Slack Channel which already exists via the RDA Professionalizing Data Stewardship IG but where the sign up link is more discoverable and persistent. The sign up link to the Slack Channel was broken at the time of our IG Meeting and resolved during the Meeting.
  • Finally, what resonated is that the RDA Professionalizing Data Stewardship IG can be the place where community initiatives can roll up into concerted group efforts that are already ongoing. Already, the IG has been focusing on producing guidance/reports in three main areas: Business Case, Terminology & Organizational Models. The IG has also other interest areas that they would like to address in the near future (which the broader community can contribute to).

So where are we at? Our liaison to the RDA Professionalizing Data Stewardship IG, Debora, will reach out to the other IG co-chairs to see how we might work together to move these ideas forward. Debora also highlighted in our follow up meeting that GO FAIR Brazil is on board with GO FAIR US on addressing the importance of this topic and we plan on discussing it once again in the upcoming GO FAIR Festival. We are eager to create a more open solution for the broader community of data stewards and hope to provide further information here in the next few weeks, if not sooner.

In the meantime, we are leaving the registration form open for the Meeting on April 30. If you are interested in following what we are doing here, please register and we will follow up with all of you that have registered. We will also communicate via the various channels/organizations that are mentioned on this blog post.

data (scrabble)"data (scrabble)" by justgrimes is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0