We are excited to announce that Ithaka S+R has been awarded grant funding from the National Science Foundation to support the development of infrastructures for data sharing within data communities in collaboration with the Data Curation Network.  “Leveraging Data Communities to Advance Open Science,” will bring together scientists and information technology professionals for focused discussions about initiating and sustaining data communities. 

A unique opportunity to leverage data communities for open science

Data communities are uniquely positioned to advance the data sharing goals of open science. These communities are made up of formal or informal networks of scientists who voluntarily exchange and reuse data across disciplinary boundaries. Recent research from Ithaka S+R has shown that these communities, which grow from small-scale collaborations into substantial repositories like FlyBase, GenBank, or OpenNeuro, offer important models for data sharing and open science. 

In order to scale as the formality of their communities grow, data sharing networks require significant technical infrastructure that is best created through collaboration between scientists and information technology professionals. Unfortunately, these groups are often bifurcated by differing professional identities, and have relatively few opportunities for sustained dialog across disciplinary and professional perspectives, and institutional or geopolitical borders. 

“Leveraging Data Communities to Advance Open Science” will provide a forum for collaboration between IT professionals and scientific researchers. This will include a remote meeting pairing representatives from new or emerging data communities with IT professionals with relevant expertise and a final workshop at the University of Michigan in the spring of 2022. The remote meeting and workshop will provide opportunities for focused dialogue about how scientists and IT professionals can combine their expertise to foster robust data sharing within the scientific community. These sessions will also help generate recommendations for key metadata fields in the National Science Foundation’s Public Access Repository (PAR) to maximize discoverability and machine readability.

What’s next for the project?

Applications to participate in “Leveraging Data Communities to Advance Open Science” will be open to teams of two to five scientists who are either members of well-established data communities or would like to create one, and to individual IT professionals with expertise in research data management. We are especially interested in applicants who can speak to interdisciplinary and multi-institutional research agendas, and who will contribute gender, racial, ethnic, and other forms of diversity to the cohort. Individuals who are selected to participate will receive full funding to attend the workshop in the spring of 2022. Full details about the application process and eligibility will be provided in the official call for applications, which will be released later this summer.

If you are interested in learning more about the project or Ithaka S+R’s other project work on data communities and data-oriented research support services, please contact Dylan Ruediger (Dylan.Ruediger@Ithaka.org).

The Data Curation Network (DCN) is a collaboration of academic and non-profit data repositories that enable researchers to openly share data. Launched in 2018 with funding by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the DCN is based at the University of Minnesota. Institutional members include Cornell University, Dryad, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Penn State University, University of Illinois, University of California Santa Barbara, University of Michigan, Virginia Tech, and Washington University in St. Louis.  For more information, contact DCN-team@googlegroups.com.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No.2103433.