DataPLANT NFDI - a further step mastered and work ahead

BioDATEN and DAplus+ are jointly involved in the nationwide NFDI process with DataPLANT Consortium (in the area of Fundamental Plant Research). End of January the review of the DFG assessment of the of the application and the oral presentation in Bonn (Link to the older message) in early December arrived. The reviewers gave a widely positive feedback, from which we deduce that DataPLANT is still in the group for consideration of funding. We would like to thank our collaborators from the Galaxy team, especially Anika Erxleben and from the Technical University in Kaiserslautern and Jülich Research Center. The feedback addresses various areas of the proposal, such as "Maturity and relevance", "Research data management" and "Internal structure and sustainability". Besides very positive remarks there are also some critical passages that should be considered in the answer.

Some snippets from the review: "The consortium is thematically closely focused on fundamental plant science research. This strong focus and the fact that, in addition to model plants, some cultivated plant species are also taken into account is seen as a clear strength of this consortium" ... "The planned implementation of processes for metadata validation seems to make sense and the claim to improve the quality of existing metadata instead of discarding it is commendable. The assessment of the quality of raw data is a interesting additional approach, which, in view of the interpretation of the results by the users carefully must be developed. The quality of the already implemented and the level of measures planned beyond this is very high. One of the planned measures is the establishment of 'data stewards' as flexible on-site assistants to be deployed, who are very demanding but also ... is very positive." ... "The consortium's efficient internal structure is impressive, consisting of the various stakeholder groups and the clearly defined bodies, including the 'Data stewards' and 'Data champions'. The topic 'efficiency and sustainability' is well received in the application addressed."

The "Diversity" of the consortium lead, which was quite one-sided in the current application, needs to be improved in the further process. The consortium is now requested to respond to individual points in a three-page statement in reply to the reviewers remarks. In particular, the focus of the answer will lie on points such as "How are the data stewards recruited, trained and meaningfully distributed institutionally and made available to the participants" or "Possibilities of generalising the workflow approach". The improvement of "diversity" should in particular expressed in a broader governance structure to be formulated jointly with the consortium. This will also incorporate initial experiences from the BioDATEN science data center.

The RDM WG in Baden-Württemberg advocates for ORCID

Initiated by the activities of the BioDATEN Science Data Center the Research Data Management Working Group (RDM WG) in Baden-Württemberg fosters the spread and use of ORCID IDs as persistent person identifiers. This ID will provide one of the necessary base metadata items to describe data sets within the BioDATEN community. The support document created and agreed upon is meant to help decision makers in the state's research institutions to choose a suitable solution for stable identification of persons and standardization.

In a strongly networked scientific landscape with a high proportion of national and international cooperation, which is characteristic of the bioinformatics and other scientific communities in Baden-Württemberg, the aim is to promote or at least closely coordinate the services for research data management. This will allow a closer exchange on the challenges and a joint approach to the provision of infrastructures. Persistent identifiers for people in science and the linking of their activities and achievements are very important topics. Due to high fluctuation in science, an agreement on a uniform system such as ORCID would be a considerable alleviation, since switching between institutions does not require any changes to the database. An identifier should be stable and unique for persons and institutions. With this document, the RDM WG would like to join the MoU of DINI and make a recommendation for ORCID, as this system has a high acceptance on the part of institutions and individual researchers.

For use in research information systems and research data management, the ORCID ID of the person becomes the identifier for the PID graph, RORID the identifier for organisations and re3data for repositories. ORCID is based on open source components, is not linked to individual commercial providers, and implements a right of co-determination within the framework of membership. Due to the already high ubiquity ORCID ID is already an accepted worldwide quasi-standard. Furthermore, such a standard helps to support cultural change by also considering research data as credits for scientific reputation. The ORCID is researcher-centric, relies on the CC0 license for metadata and can already be used as an authentication source. There is an established governance structure in which institutions can exert influence through their membership. Furthermore, the implementation ensures that researchers retain full control over their own personal data.

Nevertheless, in an international system like ORCID with decentralised management by researchers, there are some challenges in ensuring the quality of metadata. For example, an assignment to the current institution is not checked. There is some form of public or peer-to-peer control, but no specific enforcement of corrections. Another challenge is the management of departments, entities and organisations. This is getting addressed by RORID. As a global identity management system, the ORCID ID raises data protection issues. However, the organisation has made considerable efforts to increase the level of data protection and in particular to comply with the GDPR.

BioDATEN and DataPLANT. NFDI application defended in Bonn

BioDATEN was one of the originators beside DaPLUS of Kaiserslautern and Jülich of the DataPLANT NFDI consortium on fundamental plant research which finished the next round together with other consortia like NFDI4AGRI, NFDI4Earth and NFDI4BioDiversity.

On the 2nd and 3rd of December 2019 we have been in Bonn and presented and defended our NFDI application "DataPLANT". The perceived feedback on the first day was quite positive. On the second day, we received in a further individual round a couple of more detailed questions on certain aspects. We are optimistic that we left a solid impression, whereby a general assessment and classification is difficult at this stage of the overall procedure. DataPLANT is a comparably small consortium compared to other larger ones. In January 2020, we expect a written statement, to which we can react again with a three-page comment. On this basis, the reviewers will make a recommendation by the end of May 2020. The formal decision will probably be made at the end of July 2020.

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