How to Get the Most out of the Research Data Alliance

Stefanie Kethers1, Andrew Treloar2, Mingfang Wu3

1 Australian Research Data Commons, Melbourne, Australia,
2 Australian Research Data Commons, Melbourne, Australia,
3 Australian Research Data Commons, Melbourne, Australia,


The Research Data Alliance (RDA) was launched as a community-driven organization in 2013 by the European Commission, the United States National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Australian Government’s Department of Innovation with the goal of building the social and technical infrastructure to enable open sharing of data.

With over 7000 individual members from more than 130 countries and over 50 organisational members and affiliates [1], RDA provides a neutral space where its members can come together through focused global Working and Interest Groups to develop and adopt infrastructure that promotes data-sharing and data-driven research, and to accelerate the growth of a cohesive data community that integrates contributors across domain, research, national, geographical and generational boundaries.

RDA offers a variety of benefits and advantages to its individual and organisational members, including:

  • international networking (RDA bringing together experts in a variety of fields that would not usually meet, offering up new perspectives, lenses and opportunities, access to collegial consultancy resources, and information about international activities and initiatives),
  • strategic influence (enabling members to influence how standards and solutions are developed so they are aligned with their own situations, promoting Australian leadership, driving international efforts and strategy, including that of the RDA, and using RDA to amplify the message to their own stakeholders),
  • reputation enhancement (being seen as leaders, early adopters, and/or participating in the development of standards and protocols),
  • opportunities to acquire new skills, especially in data science,
  • support for development (by providing access to a large body of potential co-developers, potential adopters and their use cases, and the RDA framework for dissemination and promotion of the outputs),
  • access to RDA outputs (by providing access to developers committed to creating solutions for the adopters’ problems, which leads to adoptable outputs).

Joining RDA as an individual member is simple, does not cost anything, and provides access to all public RDA pages, and the monthly RDA newsletter. Joining Working and Interest Groups does not create any commitment, and provides some additional information. However, many of the more significant benefits outlined above will only apply after some investment, e.g. actively contributing, or even chairing a Working or Interest Group, attending an RDA Plenary, or adopting an RDA output.

We have investigated the benefits of RDA for different categories of RDA members, distinguished by the roles they play (e.g., Working Group co-chair, organisational member, member of an RDA governance body) and investments they make in RDA. The results of our investigation, together with examples and case studies, are presented in this poster.


  1. RDA in a Nutshell, August 2018. Available from (accessed 17 August 2018).
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