Attention: this website is not maintained anymore, please go to www.rd-alliance.org for up to date information
Recently the Data Web Forum (DWF) concept has been established by NSF, EC and Australian ministry and the new better name RDA (Research Data Alliance) will be used instead. Also what has been discussed making use of the label DAITF so far will integrate its bottom-up activities under the RDA governance structure. The NGS group which is now in charge of organizing RDA together with the funders is currently re-arranging the Washington meeting (1-3. October 2012) to one coherent meeting with a merged and more optimal agenda. We will publish the agenda at this web-site as soon as possible. Widely the concept for the first day with breakout sessions working on specific topics will be maintained. This and related web-sites may still use DWF and DAITF, but this will be changed stepwise.
All areas of research across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities have become digital and data intensive. Data have become not only key outputs of research, but data are also key objects of research across the disciplines. From chemists using a mass spectrometer, to the particle physicists working on the Large Hadron Collider, to the social scientists conducting longitudinal studies on census data, to humanists doing comparative textual analysis across world literatures, all are creating and using data; and they are doing so in multi-disciplinary, collaborative teams, distributed in multiple locations around the world. These highly distributed teams do their work together by sharing data. In short, data are the currency of discovery in the 21st century.
Data have also become central to international efforts to solve grand challenge problems: climate sciences, population health, world food supply, nuclear fusion, stability of minds and societies, among others are increasingly claiming the attention of researchers and governments around the world. Work on these major challenges is global and entirely data driven.
But few locations around the world have data infrastructures designed to effectively enable collaborative work with data within even single disciplines and single locations leave alone across disciplines and around the world. If data are the currency of 21st century discovery, then mechanisms for banking and exchange are sorely lacking. Just as the world economy becomes threated when crisis of liquidity in the money supply occur, so world discovery is threatened with inadequate systems for the capture, preservation, enhancement, integration, dissemination, and use of data.
The problem of inadequate infrastructure for data has been well documented in multiple studies around the world including:
- HLEG Report “Riding the Wave”
- Blue Ribbon Task Force Report
- Knowledge Exchange: A Surfboard for Riding the Wave”
All studies emphasize that data infrastructures must enable wide international collaboration. The need for an international group devoted to promoting incremental improvements in data infrastructures to enhance the accessibility and interoperability of data at a global scale is apparent. The Data Access and Interoperability Task Force (DAITF) will involve researchers, operators of elements of data infrastructure, and policy makers in an effort to ensure that comprehensive data infrastructures are built in a fashion that promotes maximum access and maximum interoperability. DAITF works to ensure that data infrastructures are effective mechanisms for exchange rather than stand-alone systems unique to single areas of practice or single locations.