D-Lib Magazine - Guest Editorial - January/February 2014 - Research Data Alliance: Vision and Mission
Use the ink to access the full text article from D-Lib Magazine. The editorial opens as follows: "Today's technologies are enabling the collection and analysis of previously unimaginable quantities of data. This data is transforming all sectors — private, public, academic — through the development of new approaches, applications, and services. The ubiquity of today's data is not just transforming what is, it is transforming what will be — laying the groundwork to drive new innovation. In this sense, perhaps the greatest potential, and most compelling need, for leveraging the capabilities of digital data can be found in the research domain. Are you at higher risk for asthma in Mexico City or Los Angeles? What are the best predictors of wheat productivity? Which neighborhoods are most likely to sustain damage in an earthquake? Today, such questions are increasingly addressed by combining data from disparate domains using complex models and new approaches to data analysis. The ability of researchers to share and combine key data sets is the foundation from which new approaches to problem solving can be developed. Data sharing and exchange allow us to uncover connectedness in what was previously unconnected. Combining health, environmental, population and other data to address asthma risk in large urban areas requires infrastructure that supports the access, use, re-use, management, coordination, and stewardship of relevant data sets. Simply making the data available is insufficient for the coherent sharing and interpretation of that data. To make things more challenging, different research communities have disparate data standards, policies, and practices. Consequently, sufficient enabling data infrastructure, both technical and social, is required to integrate data sets from distinct communities and enable collaboration across those communities, just as new technical infrastructure and common agreements were required to connect together the computer networks that form today's Internet. To address the growing global need for data infrastructure, the Research Data Alliance (RDA, rd-alliance.org) was planned and launched in 2013 as an international, community-powered organization. RDA's vision is of researchers and innovators openly sharing data across technologies, disciplines, and countries to address the grand challenges of society. RDA's mission is to build the social and technical bridges that enable data sharing. These are accomplished through the creation, adoption and use of the social, organizational, and technical infrastructure needed to reduce barriers to data sharing and exchange ..."