During the first phase of the EUDAT project, significant effort went into identifying the characteristics of the data organization landscape amongst the collaborating research communities and into ascertaining the common data services required by those communities. This information was obtained from surveys and interviews, as well as through intensive discussions that were held at EUDAT-organised user forums, and with community representatives in the Service and Architecture Forum (SAF) and also during visits to a number of research community meetings. The results, which have been documented in earlier reports, gave much-needed information about the way research communities organize their data and highlighted the huge differences between communities, in addition to providing a regularly updated list of the data services needed by those communities. This vital information then led to:
- the development and production of the five well-known “B2” user services,
- the development of a number of internal services that were found to be necessary in order to enable these user services,
- the development of prototypes for two additional user services (semantic annotation and a workflow execution engine),
- taking advantage of EUON as a European platform for discussing barriers in the semantic domain, and
- the formation of four working groups which included external experts.
The initial phase of EUDAT focussed primarily on the immediate needs of the users with a view to delivering the most urgently needed services as early as possible. In particular, over the last year EUDAT concentrated on bringing the core services up to a level where they were ready to be used, and, as a consequence, did not initiate further user surveys.
The purpose of this report is not to repeat the contents of earlier reports, but rather to look at the discussions that took place over the last two years in the realm of data infrastructures. It is important to consider these as they are likely to have a significant impact on EUDAT in the present phase of the project. Specifically, the report focuses on:
- presenting the summary of the RDA Europe Data Practices Report to which EUDAT contributed,
- discussing the principles outlined by the G8 ministers, FORCE11, FAIR, and Nairobi (and indicate their possible consequences),
- presenting a number of trends that were observed in the many discussions where EUDAT participated, and
- discussing some ideas for common components of data infrastructures that emerged from RDA discussions, in particular in the Data Fabric Interest group.
The project has taken these principles, trends and possible components into consideration and as a result EUDAT:
- has undertaken concrete actions with respect to many of the relevant issues,
- is very much involved in the on-going data discussions, and
- has chosen a structure for the coming phase of the project that makes it possible to adapt to new developments.
The priorities for EUDAT in the present phase can be described as follows:
- promote the current five core services so they are more widely utilised, stabilize them and extend them with new functionality,complete the work on the semantic annotation service and the workflow framework so they can be offered as professional services,
- start looking into several services that seem to be of interest for the research communities based on recent discussions (such as a Data Type Registry),
- organize a brainstorming session with distinguished research community experts to investigate likely future needs and developments with regard to the handling of research data,
- use the Working Group construct to follow up some significant issues of interest, and
- continue to participate in and contribute to the on-going global data discussions (for example, in the RDA).