DataPLANT governance: First round of board meetings held

During the beginning of September board meetings were held, starting with the senior management board followed both by the scientific and technical boards. The first round of meetings got chaired by the speaker, future meetings will be coordinated by a board chair supported by the office. It was decided to make the relevant information transparent; thus the slides and minutes are directly available via the linked PDFs. All information presented and decisions made will be made public in the future as well, at least to all participants of DataPLANT. Until DataPLANT is officially started, the new web site is becoming available and the cooperation and participation tools are decided upon, the documents will reside on the preliminary web site.

The senior management board directly reports to the General Assembly and represents the community in between GA meetings. It oversees all TA activities (with a focus on TA4) and finances and takes care of the strategy development. The Technical Board employs technical and infrastructural experts and moderates the various infrastructure requirements and data service offerings and decides on resource distribution/allocation, future development of new offerings or the deprovisioning of deprecated services. It will receive input mainly from TA2 and TA3. The scientific board consists mostly of plant scientists and computer scientists developing services and advises on standardization needs and develops foresight processes. It focuses on the TA1 and TA3. The boards take the input from both the general assembly and the senior management board and outside requests (e.g. from other consortia or the NFDI super structure). All boards will be supported by the DataPLANT office; the post will be offered soon through the usual channels.

Both technical and scientific boards moderate requests, which were not decided within the respective body to the high-level decision-making committee, the senior management board. The senior management board consists of all co-speakers of DataPLANT and reports to the general assembly. Whilst the senior management board strives to make unanimous decisions, it will employ a simple majority vote principle where in case of a tie vote the coordinator decides. The office handles the everyday business on behalf of the management board and the disbursement of funds of the sub NFDI. It is the first point of contact for the general NFDI processes, the facilitation of the inter NFDI exchange and the DataPLANT community (both participants and new users). It acts on behalf of the management board in between meetings and buffers incoming requests. The office takes care of the financial affairs of DataPLANT and reports annually to the general assembly and back to the grant provider. Furthermore, it handles inter-NFDI affairs and supports the coordination of cross cutting topics. The DataPLANT governance and coordination is designed to be open for adaptation; the NFDI governance - which will get fixed through the association registration process in October - was identified as a joint topic relevant for all consortia. The suggested structures will be put into a regular reviewing scheme by the general assembly and the senior management board. Both inputs from the DataPLANT community as well as from the NFDI in general will be considered.

DataPLANT pre kick-off coordination meeting

The (co-)applicant group of DataPLANT (speakers of the consortium) met in Annweiler/Trifels from Thursday to Saturday (27th till 29th August) to discuss the kick-off of the governance and to prepare the various board meetings which will be held in the coming weeks. The senior management board will have it’s inaugural meeting on the 3rd September, followed by the scientific and technical board meetings. These meetings are part of the NFDI and DataPLANT community governance. The coordination meeting discussed the final grant and the implications from the budget cuts announced earlier. These will influence the scope and width of workpackages. Further topics were the rules of compensation within the consortium and the hiring of personnel for each task area starting from now. Open posts will get announced through the central NFDI platform as well as at the upcoming GAIN event.

The second half of the meeting was dedicated to shape the vision of DataPLANT and elaborate on a first set of templates and services to start with. The Annotated Research Context (ARC) is at the core of DataPLANT and all task areas are grouped around it. A preliminary core workflow got sketched: The data is acquired from some instrument and then getting annotated with the help of a first version of the Swate tool publicly available. It allows to pick parameters from known ontologies and helps to find appropriate parameters (see best practices). If those are missing, they can be added and automatically recorded for extension. The standardization process will pick those up and discuss them with the appropriate committee. In the first iteration the user works locally in the proposed ARC files tructure which could either be created through a template ZIP or via the Excel tool. To allow versioning in that iterative process a GIT is proposed and a versioning service will be offered by the infrastructure providers. The data will be later on stored in an object storage. Certain metadata will be copied to the elastic search component as attributes for the bucket used. The ISATAB is getting stored alongside the data as well (assay branch within the ARC). If the experiment got finalized a further workflow step will be offered to replicate the specified ARC (composition of data, metadata and workflow description) into the data (publication) repository. This could be a community repository (EBI, NCBI, ENA) or another service provided through DataPLANT. After the assay branch is available within the ARC, computational workflow, e.g. through Galaxy, can follow (which requires an appropriate account provided through DataPLANT Hub). The DataPLANT Hub will allow for simple and complex search on the community data made available through it. The data stewards will be enabled to help with the templating of experiments.

DataPLANT took part in the 1st NFDI strategic workshop

DataPLANT participated in the first NFDI strategy workshop initiated and coordinated by the NFDI directorate. The workshop intended to find joint solutions and to tackle the further development of the NFDI focusing on cross-cutting topics. Not every cross-cutting issue is necessarily dealt with to the same extent by all consortia. DataPLANT e.g. indicated to cooperate on Research Data Commons (Infrastructures), (Meta)Data, findability, provenance, quality management and assurance as well as legal aspects. Further fields of common interest are user-driven developments, training and education and how to stimulate cultural change. DataPLANT plans to foster the cultural change towards the wide acceptance of data publications. In the upcoming phase the governance and sustainibility, internationalisation, policy advice and consultation will be jointly developed. Furthermore suggestions were taken up, according to which there should be a discussion on how best to integrate the consortia of the next round and whether tools/methods/filetypes might be suitable as an additional cross-cutting theme.

In the meantime the Terms and Conditions for Funding Agreements with the German Research Foundation (DFG) on Consortia within the National Research Data Infrastructure were published and are to be implemented by the applicant institutions. The same applies for the “Mittelweiterleitungsvertrag” (rules for the transfer of funds) which defines the relationship between the (co-)applicants.