June 2020 Newsletter

blog arrowPosted on: Jun 24, 2020

Welcome to the June edition of the RDC Newsletter, a periodic update from the RDC stakeholder community and beyond. If you would like to make a suggestion or comment about the contents or get involved in RDC activities, please contact RDC’s Executive Director, Mark Leggott (mark.leggott@rdc-drc.ca). You can view previous issues here, and subscribe to receive occasional updates and news.

RDC Committees and Working Groups

NDSF Summit 2020

The 2020 National Data Services Framework (NDSF) Summit was held in Kanata, February 5-6, facilitated by the NDSF Working Group of the RDC Infrastructure Committee. The Summit was well attended (over 160 participants) and featured 3 breakouts with discussion of the details of national data services. Draft outcomes were recently made available and will be published in their final form after additional feedback from attendees and the broader stakeholder community have been incorporated. Please feel free to comment and provide feedback on either of the following documents by June 30th.

Steering Committee

The RDC Steering Committee met most recently in February (immediately after the Summit) and in May. The February meeting focused on the Summit, the NDRIO transition, and the RDC Roadmap. The primary agenda items for the May meeting were the transition of RDC to the New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO), and presentation of the final RDC Roadmap for 2020-2022. The key takeaway from discussion of both items was the importance of consistent communication and engagement with stakeholders to update on progress throughout this transitionary period.


RDC has continued participating in the alignment and strategic development of NDRIO, alongside the Portage Network. Active meetings thus far have focused on a state assessment to describe and evaluate the current Canadian RDM ecosystem, and moving forward, focus will shift to a needs assessment as well as a proposal for rationalization of existing RDM entities, especially committees and working groups. A communication regarding this process and the proposed outcome will be distributed shortly.

RDC Intern

Robyn Nicholson started April 27th as the RDC Intern. Robyn currently resides in Halifax, where she recently graduated from the Master of Information program at Dalhousie University. While at Dalhousie, Robyn worked with Dr. Mike Smit on projects related to research data management, including an investigation of the nature of multidisciplinary geographically dispersed collaboration in the context of the development of the Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System (CIOOS).

RDC Communications and Special Events


The most recent RDC Webinar was on the topic of the Persistent Identifiers (PID) Graph and its Potential: Extending Persistent Identifiers for Research Data, presented by Ricarda Braukmann from DANS, Robin Dasler from DataCite, and Ketil Koop-Jakobsen from PANGAEA. The full audio with slides is available, as are the individual presentation decks covering the Introduction to PID, PID Forum, PID and ROR, and the PID Graph and its use. 

RDC is working on the details for a number of upcoming webinars, including an update on the Research Data Alliance (RDA) COVID-19 Working Group’s final release of their Recommendations and Guidelines document, as well as an update on the final outputs of the 2020 NDSF Summit. Both sessions are tentatively being scheduled for July with further details to follow shortly. 

NDSF Summit 2021

Planning will soon be underway for the 4th annual NDSF Summit 2021. It is anticipated that this Summit will evolve to the creation of specific working groups that will focus in on the various elements highlighted in the 2020 NDSF Summary, and 2020 Kanata Declaration, as well as a close intersection with the efforts of NDRIO. If you would like to be involved in planning the next Summit, please contact Mark Leggott by July 17.

News from RDC Stakeholders


CANARIE’s 2nd RDM Funding Program launched in late 2019, and 4 projects were selected for funding, which started April 1, 2020. These 4 projects, as well as the 9 previously funded projects, presented their updates at the CANARIE RDM Workshop on February 4th. These presentations from the 2020 workshop are available via RDC’s Zenodo community.


The Canadian National Committee for CODATA (CNC/CODATA) is developing new terms of reference, in partnership with RDC and the National Research Council Canada (NRC). Aside from an update to reflect the focus of CODATA, an additional change is that RDC will provide a Secretariat function for CNC CODATA.


NDRIO elected its inaugural Board of Directors in March, and received approval from ISED of its Corporate Plan outlining activities for 2020-2021. On June 3rd, Mark Leggott (RDC) and Jeff Moon (Portage Network) made a joint presentation to Compute Canada, providing an update on NDRIO progress in the data management context.


The World Data System’s International Technology Office (WDS-ITO) has received funding in partnership with NDRIO, Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) and the Portage Network for two work packages: harvestable metadata services, to facilitate national/international discovery of data; and facilitation of Schema.org integration for data repositories.

Simon Fraser University, Portage, and FRDR

SFU has funded and begun work on a new initiative to add optional zero knowledge encryption to Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR) datasets, with the eventual goal of supporting sensitive data without risk of data breaches.

COVID-19 Efforts

RDC and Canadian Stakeholders

CanCOVID-19 Slack Channel

Experts from Canada’s scientific, policy, and health communities mobilized to launch CanCOVID, a rapid-response network for facilitating the nation’s COVID-19 research effort. The Office of the Chief Science Advisor of Canada observed the absence of a dedicated channel for researchers to communicate nationally regarding COVID-19 research, and the CanCOVID-19 Slack Channel was established to allow researchers to connect and collaborate across critical development areas. The group now boasts close to 3,000 members.

Canadian Research Funders

The Tri-Agencies have been working to fund and support COVID-19-related research proposals, and to bring together teams funded through COVID-19 rapid response initiatives to help facilitate accelerated research.

Sample projects that have been awarded rapid funding include:

Funding agencies also continue to announce new funding with a COVID-19 focus, such as SSHRC’s Partnership Engage Grants COVID-19 Special Initiative (next deadline September 15), CIHR’s varied programs, and NRC’s Pandemic Response Challenge Program.

International Stakeholders

The RDA-COVID19 Working Group‘s Recommendations and Guidelines document has just had its penultimate draft release. The document is aimed at:

  • Clearly defining detailed guidelines on data sharing under the present COVID-19 circumstances;
  • Developing recommendations for policymakers to maximise timely, quality data sharing; and
  • Addressing the interests of researchers, policy makers, funders, publishers, and providers of data sharing infrastructures.

The final draft with stakeholder feedback incorporated will be released June 30 and will be followed by additional material designed to facilitate access to the details.

  • EMBL-EBI launched their COVID-19 Data Portal allowing researchers worldwide to access, analyze, and submit SARSCoV2 data.
  • OpenAIRE have created a Zenodo COVID-19 Community in partnership with CERN to collect all COVID-19 related research results of relevance to the global scientific community, and are also currently developing a COVID-19 gateway to serve as a single point of entry for research results and other useful resources.

International News

Data Together

A finalized and fully endorsed version of the Data Together statement has been released, highlighting the collaboration among the ISC Committee On Data (CODATA), RDA, World Data Systems (WDS), and GoFAIR. In the document, these four major international data organizations outline their joint commitment to optimizing the research data ecosystem, with the intention of continuing to define collaborative opportunities leading up to an International Data Week event in the Fall of 2021.

TRUST Principles

Last month saw the publication of the TRUST Principles for digital repositories, an RDA community effort to provide guidance for maintaining the trustworthiness of digital repositories, especially those responsible for the stewardship of research data. The document provides a common framework to facilitate discussion and implementation of best practice in digital preservation centred around Transparency, Responsibility, User focus, Sustainability and Technology.

RDC is currently working with international colleagues to deliver a mini symposium that will delve into the details of the TRUST Principles, and its potential impact on RDM best practices. Current plans are to have the online event in July: details will follow shortly.

Conferences and Special Events

  • The RDA 16th Plenary Meeting will take place in mid-November. The event planners are still hoping to have a small in-person event in Costa Rica November 10-12, however in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a Virtual Plenary (VP 16) is the focus, and will provide the global RDA community with the opportunity to attend remotely. The Call for Sessions for VP 16 is now open, with this year’s theme centering around Knowledge Ecology.
  • The RDA 17th Plenary Meeting has also been announced, and will take place April 20-22, 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The event will be hosted by the Digital Curation Centre, in collaboration with Jisc and STFC-UKRI, with more details to follow in the coming months.
  • Finally, International Data Week 2021 will take place November 8-11, 2021 in Seoul, South Korea.

New Products, Services and Publications

Geodisy is an open-source geo-spatial discovery platform now live on FRDR, developed by a team at the University of British Columbia in collaboration with CANARIE, UBC Advanced Research Computing, GeoBlacklight, Dataverse, ScholarsPortal, and Portage. Geodisy facilitates access to research data by selecting a geographic bounding box, rather than using search terms.

DataCite launched their GraphQL API, a new API that powers the PID Graph, formed by scholarly resources described by persistent identifiers and the connections between them. The PID Graph currently includes “all of DataCite’s DOIs, nine million Crossref DOIs, all ORCID IDs, and all Research Organization Registry (ROR), Crossref Funder ID, and Registry of Research Data Repositories (re3data) records, for a total of about 35 million resources with PIDs and associated metadata, and about 9 million links between them”.

Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR) launched a new Agricultural Code of Conduct Toolkit as part of a planned global collective action on Empowering Farmers through Equitable Data Sharing.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published Enhancing Scientific Reproducibility in Biomedical Research Through Transparent Reporting: Proceedings of a Workshop last month, representing conclusions drawn in a workshop focused primarily on transparent reporting in preclinical research, as well as lessons learned and best practices from clinical research reporting.

Recent RDM-Focused Resources

  1. When will we return to normal after coronavirus? The data will tell us, by Mark Daley and Ted Hewitt.
  2. The Project Close Out Checklist for Research Data, by Kristin A. Briney.
  3. What will it cost to manage and share my data? by Ryan O’Connor, Alexandra Delipalta, and Sarah Jones.
  4. Guidance on Apps supporting the fight against COVID 19 pandemic in relation to data protection, from the European Commission.
  5. Is it Finally the Year of Research Data? – The STM Association Thinks So, by Phill Jones.
  6. FAIRsFAIR’s D3.3 Policy Enhancement Recommendations, by Joy Davidson et al.
  7. Rethinking data: Changing narratives, practices & regulations, from the Ada Lovelace Institute.
  8. Developing a Research Data Policy Framework for All Journals and Publishers, by Iain Hrynaszkiewicz et al.
  9. Invest 5% of research funds in ensuring data are reusable, by Barend Mons.
  10. No raw data, no science: another possible source of the reproducibility crisis, by Tsuyoshi Miyakawa.