The Research Data Alliance: Celebrating a Decade of Data

2023 marks 10 years of the Research Data Alliance, an international community building the social and technical infrastructure to enable open sharing and re-use of data.
a view of a lecture hall from the back, looking over hundreds of people to a stage with a large screen
Natasha Simons, Director, National Coordination, ARDC, presenting to a full crowd of RDA members at the 20th RDA Plenary in Gothenburg.

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) has over 13,500 members and over 100 active working groups and Interest Groups globally. As a voluntary, community-driven initiative, the RDA has an inclusive approach covering all data lifecycle stages through the engagement of data producers, users and stewards globally. 

As an Organisational Member of RDA, the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) is committed to the development of the research data community and actively engages with the RDA community regionally and globally. Many ARDC staff are active in working groups and interest groups and several are co-chairs of their groups.  

The RDA Celebrates 10 Years in 2023

Now in its tenth year, the RDA has been commemorating this important milestone through a series of regionally and internationally hosted events and activities aligned to  monthly themes around research data management. The global community has embraced the opportunity to hold a wide range of events, including webinars, podcasts, workshops and seminars, addressing specific research data management topics and bringing together audiences to discuss an array of challenges, solutions and initiatives. A suite of publicly available resources has emerged from these activities, available via the RDA website.  

The 10th Anniversary webpage showcases the many 10th anniversary event recordings and outputs. A poster providing an overview of the 10th Anniversary celebrations was presented at the eResearch Australasia 2023 conference in Brisbane in October – view the poster.

This year the Australian research community was able to participate in numerous RDA events thanks to numerous events in an Australian-friendly time zone, coordinated by the ARDC-hosted RDA Community Development Manager, Kathryn Barker.  This helped to raise awareness of the RDA with the Australian research community.

The year of celebrations is not over yet! Take a look at upcoming RDA events.

RDA Plenaries and International Data Week 2023

A large screen says " Welcome to Research Data Alliance 20th Plenary Meeting, Gothenburg and Online, March 21-23, 2023'

The RDA has held 2 hybrid Plenaries this year. In March, Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, hosted the 20th RDA Plenary, during which the 10th Anniversary was celebrated with over 700 participants from 62 countries and 6 continents, and 52 sessions covering a rich program of research data topics. The event was structured to follow a series of Plenary Pathways which included FAIR, CARE and TRUST principles and adoption, data infrastructures and environments, training and stewardship, data lifecycles, discipline focused data issues and much more. A highlight of this plenary was the ARDC’s Natasha Simons’ keynote presentation at the opening Plenary, during which the long history of the ARDC and RDA collaboration was entertainingly explained. 

A person stands and looks at a display wall with a rainbow and post-it notes.
Attendees of the 20th Plenary were asked to share feedback on the 2024-2028 RDA strategy on a rainbow wall.

The RDA strategy for 2024-2028 was also a key feature of the 20th Plenary — plenary attendees to share feedback and comments on a rainbow wall of post-its around the 4 strategic pillars: globalise, lead, empower and innovate. At the end of the week, during the closing Plenary, Council Co-Chair Jill Benn (University of Western Australia) presented the strategy and called upon the community to continue to provide feedback and inputs.

Find out more about 20th RDA Plenary and watch the post-plenary webinar, hosted by the technical Advisory Board TAB) on the RDA website.

In October, the community met again, this time in Salzburg, Austria, for the 21st RDA Plenary held in conjunction with International Data Week (IDW) 2023: A Festival of Data. Sessions again followed the Plenary Pathways and again FAIR featured strongly throughout, as did the importance of engaging early career individuals and low and middle income countries in the RDA. Notably, the rise of generative artificial intelligence was also a strong theme throughout sessions and discussions. Following 6 months of strategy development and community review, the 2024-2028 Strategic Plan was also revealed. ARDC staff were also present to promote the next IDW, which will be hosted by ARDC and take place in Brisbane in October 2025. Register your interest here

Read more about IDW2023 and P21 and watch the post-plenary webinar recordings on the RDA website.

Get Involved in the RDA

Anyone can join the RDA; it’s free and offers a wealth of opportunity for collaborations and becoming actively involved with driving progress in research data management. 

The ARDC is funded through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to support national digital research infrastructure for Australian researchers.