Adopting Outputs from the Research Data Alliance

Stefanie Kethers1, Malcolm Wolski2, Jingbo Wang3, Andrew Treloar4, Jeff Christiansen5

1ANDS, Caulfield East, VIC, 3145,

2Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111,

3National Computational Infrastructure, Canberra, ACT 2601,

4ANDS, Caulfield East, VIC, 3145,

5EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource – (QCIF node), St Lucia, QLD, 4072,


The Research Data Alliance (RDA,, founded in 2013 by the Australian Government’s [then] Department of Innovation, the European Commission, and the US National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology, aims to build the social and technical bridges that enable open sharing of data. The RDA vision is researchers and innovators openly sharing data across technologies, disciplines, and countries to address the grand challenges of society. Participation in RDA is open to anyone who agrees to its guiding principles of openness, consensus, balance, harmonisation, with a community driven and non-profit approach. RDA has a broad, committed membership of individuals from academia, industry and government – over 5,700 members from 128 countries (June 2017).

RDA provides a neutral space where its members come together through focused global Working and Interest Groups to develop and adopt infrastructure that promotes data-sharing and data-driven research, and accelerate the growth of a cohesive data community that integrates contributors across domain, research, national, geographical and generational boundaries.

RDA Outputs (see for a list of current outputs) are the technical and social infrastructure solutions developed by RDA Working or Interest Groups that enable data sharing, exchange, and interoperability. These outputs have an important impact in two areas: solving problems, and incorporation and/or adoption in infrastructure environments by individuals, projects and organisations. RDA encourages organisations to adopt RDA Recommendations and thus collaborate with RDA in fostering a global change of data practices related to managing, re-using and combining data in science, industry and society.

This 60-minute BoF will provide an overview of current RDA Outputs and where they are being adopted worldwide. It will also give the audience the opportunity to hear from some Australian adopters of RDA Outputs, and to discuss their needs in terms of how to be kept informed about outputs, and what support they would need if adopting RDA Outputs.

The proposed outline for this session is:

  • Introduction and brief overview of current RDA Outputs and their adopters (Stefanie Kethers / Andrew Treloar, 10 mins)
  • An organizational perspective on RDA outputs adoption (Malcolm Wolski, 10 mins)
  • An infrastructure provider’s perspective on RDA outputs adoption (Jingbo Wang, 10 mins)
  • A researcher’s perspective on the value and uptake of the Biosharing registry (Jeff Christiansen, 10 mins)
  • Discussion (20 mins) about the audience’s needs with regard to barriers to
    • Finding out about RDA Outputs
    • Adopting RDA Outputs


Dr Stefanie Kethers is a Senior Business Analyst with the Australian National Data Service and the Director of Operations, Research Data Alliance. Stefanie’s background is in computer science, and she has a strong interest in supporting researchers within and across disciplines by bringing data and people together.

Stefanie received her Dr. (PhD) from RWTH Aachen University, Germany, in 2000 with a thesis on modelling and analyzing cooperative processes. She worked as a researcher at CSIRO and Monash University, continuing her work on cooperative processes, before joining ANDS in 2009.

Malcolm Wolski is the Director, eResearch Services at Griffith University. Malcolm is a part of the senior leadership team providing library, information and IT services at Griffith University.  In his role, he is responsible for the development, management and delivery of eResearch services to the University’s research community, which includes the associated information management systems, applications, infrastructure, high performance computing, data management as well as a small media production service. These services are delivered through an integrated service delivery team by working closely his colleagues in the library and enterprise IT. More recent projects and other activities have involved working closely with national and international organisations, including groups such as NeCTAR, ANDS and he is a member of the Organisational Assembly Board of the Research Data Alliance.

Malcolm has a background in IT, library, strategic planning and operations research.

Jingbo Wang is the Data Collections Manager at the National Computational Infrastructure where she is leading the migration of data collections onto the RDS (Research Data Service) funded filesystems. Jingbo’s focus is on building the infrastructure to support data registry, data quality control and assurance, data publishing, data citation, and end-to-end data management workflow. She is also interested in how to provide the best data services to the research community through provenance, graph database, etc., technology. As a scientist, she is working on how to advance the science through interdisciplinary research that combines the HPC/HPD platform with the massive national collections at NCI.

Jeff Christiansen has multiple roles as the EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource Key Area Coordinator, as well as Health & Life Sciences Program Manager at both QCIF (the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation) and the University of Queensland’s Research Computing Centre (RCC).  He has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Queensland, and started his career conducting research in the fields of cancer, molecular genetics and embryo development in both Australia and the UK, prior to moving into the management of large biological data assets (sequence, images, etc.) through the establishment of EMAGE, a UK-based international database of gene expression and anatomy.  Previously, Jeff has also been based at Intersect Australia in Sydney where he was the National Manager of the RDS-funded project and also responsible for a number of biology-focused data and IT-related projects across NSW (biobanking, omics, etc.), as well as in Melbourne at the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), where he was involved in commissioning and monitoring a number of biology/medicine-focused national data management projects.

Dr Andrew Treloar is the Director of Technology for the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) (, with particular responsibility for international engagement. In 2008 he led the project to establish ANDS. Prior to that he was associated with a number of e-research projects as Director or Technical Architect), as well as the development of an Information Management Strategy for Monash University. His research interests include data management, institutional repositories and scholarly communication. He never seems to be able to make enough time for practising his ‘cello, or reading, but does try to prioritise talking to his chickens and working in his vegetable garden and orchard. Further details at or follow him on Twitter as @atreloar. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts with first-class honours, majoring in Germanic Languages and Linguistics, a Graduate Diploma in computer science, a Master of Arts in English Literature and a Ph. D. with the thesis topic Hypermedia Online Publishing – The Transformation of the Scholarly Journal.

How can journal data sharing policies be more prevalent and effective?

Ms Natasha Simons1, Ms Kate LeMay1

1Australian National Data Service, Brisbane, Australia


This presentation will introduce the international and Australasian context for the growing uptake of journal data availability policies, including the drivers and barriers for the creation and implementation of these policies. It will discuss ways in which the eResearch Australasia community can engage with publishers and journal editors to support journal data availability policies and to offer a trusted repository for data deposit.  The Research Data Alliance Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation has been active in addressing these issues and it encourages contributions. Finally, this presentation will reflect on the 2017 Australian Social Sciences and Health and Medical roundtables which brought together publishers, editors, data facility providers, domain experts, academy representatives and researchers to discuss journal data availability policies.



An increasing number of journals are implementing policies and procedures that require published articles to be accompanied by the underlying research data. Journal policies on research data and related materials such as software code are an important part of the shift toward reproducible research. They support, and in some cases have driven, statements, mandates and principles issued by research funders, governments and scientific societies around the world. These policies support initiatives that allow for replication and verification of authors’ published claims. Additionally, research data policies have been shown to influence researchers’ willingness to share research data to varying extents [1].

There has not been a large-scale movement of publishers mandating data deposit although there has been an upward trend. Journal Impact Factor is the most highly significant determinant of the existence and strength of a journal data or code sharing policy [2]. Examples of higher impact factor journal data policies include those introduced by Nature [3] and PLOS [4]. However a number of initiatives are underway that recommend and make it easier for more publishers and journal editors to create or develop data policies. Examples include: the Joint Data Archiving Policy (JDAP) initiative by leading journals in the field of evolution which outlines a policy that data supporting publications be publicly available; a range of statements in support of data publishing such as the Coalition on Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS) Statement of Commitment and the Data Access and Research Transparency (DA-RT): A Joint Statement by Political Science Journal Editors; the Open Science Framework Transparency and Openness Guidelines that offer a comprehensive list of policies for journals with several different levels of commitment to openness.



While publishers have been both participants and drivers of various data availability initiatives, there is a large variation between journals on the presence and content of data availability policies even within the one publishing house. This is problematic because an unclear data policy presents difficulties for authors in selecting a suitable journal for publication and in complying with the policy. Naughton and Kernohan [5] outline two projects funded by Jisc UK to make sense of journal data policies, which found that:

  1. Data policies are deeply idiosyncratic and often express similar ideas and processes in very different ways.
  • There is clear benefit in a more standardised approach. Greater standardisation could also facilitate the construction of a register of data policies, similar to the SHERPA registers for funder and publisher policies on open access.

The need for a more standardised approach to data availability policies has been recognised at an international level. A Research Data Alliance (RDA) Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation was formed at the April 2017 Plenary[6]. The Interest Group draws on the FORCE11 Data Citation Implementation Pilot[7] and the work of Springer Nature to standardise policies across journals via the creation of four standard templates for their stable of more than 3000 journals[8]. The chairs and co-chairs of the RDA Interest Group include representatives of Springer Nature, Wiley, Jisc UK and ANDS. The Group will bring together the views of data publishers and data facility/infrastructure providers internationally to enhance the effectiveness of journal data policies through policy standardisation and harmonisation.



Running in parallel with the work of the RDA Interest Group, ANDS is co-ordinating various events to engage scholarly publishers and editors in an effort to increase journal data availability policies. In April a “data in the social sciences” roundtable was co-sponsored by ANDS, ICPSR, FORCE 11 and Australian Data Archive (ADA) and in June, a “health and medical data” roundtable was co-sponsored by ANDS and Australian Health and Medical journal Editors Network (AHMEN). Each of these roundtables brought together publishers, editors, data facility providers, domain experts, academy representatives and researchers in Australia, and international guests to discuss the barriers and enablers to journal data availability policies. ANDS also offers a Guide “Research Data for Journal Editors” [9] and a point of contact for journal editors and publishers seeking advice on the creation or enhancement of a data availability policy.



Journal data availability policies would benefit greatly from the support of universities and research institutions. These are places that provide technical infrastructure, staff expertise and services that support the deposit of research data, publications and related materials. Ways in which institutions can engage include:

  • Working with publishers and journal editors to get their institutional or data repository listed in a journal data policy as a recommended place for authors to deposit data.
  • Provide links between journal articles and data held in institutional repositories in metadata feeds to third party aggregators such as Research Data Australia who then feed the links back to community “Hubs” where publishers can harvest the information and display it in journals (the Scholix initiative).
  • Contribute to the work of the Research Data Alliance Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation.
  • Participate in future events that bring together publishers, editors, data facility providers, domain experts, academy representatives and researchers to discuss journal data availability policies.



In this presentation, the authors will:

  • Introduce the international and Australasian context for the growing uptake of journal data availability policies.
  • Outline the drivers and barriers for the creation of these policies.
  • Reflect on the Australian roundtable experiences bringing together publishers, editors, data facility providers, domain experts, academy representatives and researchers to discuss journal data availability policies.
  • Provide an update on the activities of the Research Data Alliance Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation and outline ways in which people can contribute to the work of this group.
  • Discuss ways in which the eResearch Australasia community can engage with publishers and journal editors to support journal data availability policies and to offer a trusted repository for data deposit.



  1. Meadows, A. (2014). To Share or not to Share? That is the (Research Data) Question… | The Scholarly Kitchen. Retrieved from Schmidt, B., Gemeinholzer, B., & Treloar, A. (2016). Open Data in Global Environmental Research: The Belmont Forum’s Open Data Survey. PloS One, 11(1), e0146695. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146695
  2. Stodden V, Guo P, Ma Z (2013) Toward Reproducible Computational Research: An Empirical Analysis of Data and Code Policy Adoption by Journals. PLoS ONE 8(6): e67111. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067111
  3. Nature Data Availability Policy. Available from accessed 16 June 2017.
  4. PLOS Data Availability Policy. Available from accessed 16 June 2017.
  5. Naughton, L. & Kernohan, D., (2016). Making sense of journal research data policies. Insights. 29(1), pp.84–89.
  6. Research Data Alliance Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation Case Statement. Available from Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  7. Force11 Data Citation Implementation Pilot. Available from accessed 16 June 2017.
  8. Springer Nature Data Policy Types. Available from accessed 16 June 2017.
  9. ANDS Guide ‘Research Data for Journal Editors’. Available from accessed 16 June 2017.



Natasha Simons is a Research Data Management Specialist with the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), working with a variety of people and groups to improve data management platforms, policies and practices. With a background in libraries, IT and eResearch, she has a history of developing policy, technical infrastructure and staff skills to support research and researchers. She is co-chair of the Research Data Alliance Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation and co-chair of the Australasian Repository Working Group. Natasha is a member of the Australian ORCID Advisory Group and is an ORCID Ambassador. A writer and reviewer of papers related to libraries, persistent identifiers, repositories and research data, Natasha is located at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Kate LeMay began her career as a Pharmacist in both community and hospital pharmacies. She then worked at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research as a Project Manager for community pharmacy based programs to assist patients with chronic disease management. Kate now works in Canberra at the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) as a Senior Research Data Specialist, focusing on health and medical data.

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