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Benchmarking the Global Open Research Commons

Karen.jpgBlog post by Karen Payne (WDS-ITO Associate Director)

Trustworthy Data Repositories (TDRs) are a key pillar within the Global Open Research Commons (GORC), utilized by researchers as they address societal grand challenges such as climate change, pandemics, and poverty. The realized vision of the GORC will provide frictionless access to all research resources, including data, publications, software, and compute resources; plus the metadata, vocabulary, and identification services that enable their discovery and use by humans and machines. Part of the mission of the WDS International Technology Office (WDS-ITO) is to ensure that WDS Members are well represented in the coordination bodies, infrastructures, and functional pipelines that connect TDRs, analytics, and computing resources, globally. As part of this work, the WDS-ITO has taken a leadership role within the Research Data Alliance’s (RDA’s)  GORC Interest Group (IG), and the GORC Working Group (WG) on International Benchmarking

The GORC IG is working on a set of deliverables to support coordination amongst organizations that are building commons, including a roadmap for global alignment to help set priorities for commons development and integration. In support of this roadmap, the GORC Benchmarking WG will develop and collect a set of benchmarks for organizations such that they can internally measure their user engagement and development, and gauge their maturity and compare features across commons. 

In the first case, the WG will collect information about how existing commons measure success, adoption, or use of the services within an organization, such as data downloads, contributed software, and similar Key Performance Indicators and access statistics.  Secondly, we will also curate a set of benchmarks that will enable commons developers to compare features across science clouds. For example, we could consider benchmarks such as evidence or the existence of a well-defined decision making process, a consistent and openly available data privacy policy, and a workflow for adding and maintaining PIDs for managed assets—just to name a few. 

This WG is motivated by the broader goal of openly sharing data and related services across technologies, disciplines, and countries. The deliverables of the WG will inform roadmaps for development of the infrastructure necessary to meet this goal, while forging strong partnerships across the national-, regional-, and domain-focused commons that will be crucial to its success. Observable and measurable benchmarks will help create a tangible path for the development and support of strategic planning across science commons infrastructures and build a common that is globally interoperable. It will also support developers as they seek resources to build the GORC by helping them respond to funding agency requirements for measurable deliverables. WDS Members are a key component of this vision. 

The work will build on previous RDA groups that some WDS Members may have previously or are currently involved with, such as the National Data Services IG, the  Domain Repositories IG, the Data Fabric IG, and the Virtual Research Environment IG. These groups, and many others outside of RDA, will have recommendations that speak to functionality and features of various components of commons; for example, the re3data.org schema for collecting information on research data repositories for registration, the European Open Science Cloud’s (EOSC’s) FAIR and Sustainability WGs that seek to define the EOSC as a Minimum Viable Product. We will review these and other related outputs to see if they have identified benchmarks that we feel will support our goals. 

The GORC International Benchmarking WG Case Statement is open for public review until Monday, 8 February 2021, and we have submitted a session proposal for RDA’s 17th Plenary Meeting to be held in April. We invite all WDS Members to provide comments or get involved in the RDA GORC IG and WG. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Karen Payne (ito-director[at]oceannetworks[dot]ca) at the WDS-ITO. We would love to talk to you!