The Research Data Alliance (RDA) builds 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.

The current global research data landscape is highly fragmented, by disciplines or by domains, from oceanography, life sciences and health, to agriculture, space and climate. When it comes to cross-disciplinary activities, the notions of "building blocks" of common data infrastructures and building specific "data bridges" are becoming accepted metaphors for approaching the data complexity and enable data sharing.

The Research Data Alliance enables data to be shared across barriers through focused Working Groups and Interest Groups, formed of experts from around the world – from academia, industry and government. Participation in RDA is open to anyone who agrees to its guiding principles of openness, consensus, balance, harmonisation, community driven and non-profit approach. It was started in 2013 by a core group of interested agencies – the European Commission, the US National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Australian Government's Department of Innovation. Other agencies, countries, companies, associations and institutes are due to join. RDA also has a broad, committed membership of individuals – now 1300+ from 55 countries since RDA was launched in March 2013 - dedicated to improving data exchange.

From an interview by iSGTW of Mark Parsons, recently appointed secretary general of the Research Data Alliance:

Why is it important that researchers share their data?

"All of society's grand challenges — climate change, public health, understanding the origin of the universe,etc. — require sharing data across technologies, scales, and cultures. Scales can be both physical and temporal, and culture relates not just to national cultures, but also disciplinary cultures. If, for instance, an atmospheric scientist and a public health specialist want to use the same atmospheric data to understand asthma in Los Angeles, you need to build a bridge across the two cultures.

Personally, I come from the earth sciences, so climate change is a big area that I'm aware of and we're already seeing significant economic impact from it today. We have a group within the RDA that is looking at agricultural interoperability and they're starting to think about how climate change is going to affect agriculture, which obviously has both a huge social and economic impact. So a grand challenge is the economic impact; I guess it's the bottom line."

Source: this is an extract from a larger web article by ISGTW - International Science Grid This Week

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