DataPLANT News

Exchange of ideas on concepts for sustainable operation and community extension

28 Jan 2021

The project coordinator and speaker of DataPLANT had an online meeting with the NFDI representative of the DFG regarding further community involvment and sustainable development of the consortium and the NFDI. In the half hours talk possible ideas got exchanged, how future project applications could foster the developments to support the steadily expanse of the number of researchers represented by the NFDI. This includes the ongoing process of forming consortia as well as the activities within the already funded consortia to increase their outreach. A crucial task of the consortia is to extend their visibility to the entirety of their researchers. This highlights the credibility to represent their respective fields and establish common standards and concepts. One of the success criteria for the funded consortia is to cover their own specialist community as fully as possible and to network with adjacent research areas. For this purpose, a coordinated onboarding process should be agreed on how new members are formally added to a consortium and incorporated into the governance structure.

Furthermore, a long-term perspective of financial sustainability should be discussed. This could be achieved in part through the design of future funding applications. One way to do this could be through greater involvement of the entire scientific community through the application process and the joint design of data management plans. Consultation with the NFDI could ensure that new projects work according to current workflows, with modern tools and jointly established community standards, and that this is supported in the project process by the NFDI. Such support should function independently of the specific federation process of the individual NFDI consortia and the initial group of co-applicants and participants.

Strategic considerations for future development include recommendations that should be made to future research and collaborative projects. Such projects typically require advice and support in the various aspects of data management, handling tools and workflows, and technical infrastructure. In order to be able to respond flexibly in this regard, a significant amount of staff should be earmarked for community support through, for example, data stewards. This support will be distributed among the original co-applicants according to a key defined in the consortium. However, in addition, research groups starting at a later point in time should also benefit from the NFDI support. Therefore, it needs to be discussed what conditions should be attached to inclusion and in particular how new groups could contribute additional resources needed accordingly. This discussion will be brought forward together with the other NFDI consortia as well through regular exchange e.g. via the speakers meetings with the NFDI directorate.