Our domain specific user community covers the fundamental plant research community being well distributed across Germany as well as in terms of data champions that generate the major amount of research data. Methodologically, phenotyping platforms and high-throughput technologies such as mass spectrometry, next generation sequencing, spectroscopy, and imaging techniques, which are used in the user community of the consortium, cover the entire range of methods of modern plant research. However, in the field of plant research, manifold, diverse, and time-consuming experiments need to be performed, accurately analysed, and linked. Adequate metadata are required for the correct interpretation of the data in order to understand the mechanisms of life.

DataPLANT provides user guidance and functionality to empower plant researchers in an open data world. Therefore, our two-fold strategy includes the development and implementation of an assisting data service infrastructure and the manifestation of the data generated among the experimental groups into the system in close collaboration. DataPLANT will lower the time and work spent on the user side to enrich data with metainformation. This added metainformation is necessary to render the data and to generate more value for the researchers and the community whilst decreasing efforts spend in data curation. The combination of federated intelligent software services and data management experts guaranty personalized assistive mechanisms tailored to the needs of the users. Close dialog with and early involvement of a domain-specific user community ensures relevance and usability of the system and safeguards the specificity and applicability of our requirements and data standards. Our domain specific user community is thematically coherent and brings together key actors from fundamental plant research including e.g. TRR 175-The Green Hub - Central Coordinator of Acclimation in Plants and the Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS). The TRR 175 aims to discover how plants translate changes in light and temperature into cellular responses and identifies the molecular switches that are central to this. CEPLAS addresses the challenges for sustainable food production and ecosystem maintenance by fundamental research on complex plant traits of agronomic relevance that impact on yield and adaptation to limited resources.

It is necessary, that data management is driven by expert researchers in the field. However, the user community needs to be empowered to communicate their requirements by knowledge about the possibilities following the principle ‘application follows understanding’. It is essential for success to match and evaluate the theoretical requirements against real-world use cases. Therefore, an essential component of the DataPLANT strategy is the implementation of data stewards for bidirectional transparent communication. Data stewards are persons with high data literacy supporting data champions on site to custom fit RDM strategies and experimental work. In parallel, they are reinforced by our technical assistance services and infrastructure. Further, DataPLANT ensures transparent communication by instantiating an office as a single personal entry point that orchestrates contacts between providers and users. DataPLANT will also foster various channels for direct communication within and across task areas like online team communication, social media and classical email service. Also, we aim to drive information exchange by training, organizing workshops and teaching in general. Regular surveys will help to further prioritize the user requirements and they will be a necessary piece of our self-evaluation strategy. DataPLANT’s organisational framework formed by a dedicated governance structure encourages and commits users to take an active role through general assembly, boards, and working groups. A more formal approach is having all participants committed themselves to direct communication by signing their particular DataPLANT letter of commitment to be part of this consortium.