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Follow-up Report on the RDM Network Meeting in May

May 19th, 2023 | by
The photo represents the key points such as date, topic, etc. for the open meeting oft he RDM network on May 10, 2023

Source: Own illustration; Freepik

On May 10, 2023, the data stewards, RDM officers and people interested in RDM at RWTH Aachen University met again for the regular open meeting of the RDM network online via Zoom. This time, the participants were guided through the most important steps in the FAIRification process using the FAIR Cookbook.

RDM Speed Dating to get to Know Each Other

The meeting opened with the now established RDM Speed Dating. In small groups, the participants exchanged ideas about which terms they associate with the topic of FAIR. The associations metadata and interoperability were mentioned several times. Other keywords were persistent identifier, machine readability, management, reproducibility, low acceptance and re-use.


The FAIRplus Cookbook

The FAIRplus Cookbook is the result of the FAIRplus project, which ran from January 2019 to December 2022. The Cookbook contains a collection of recipes (currently over 70) covering the steps of FAIR data management using examples of applications in the life sciences. It is an open and “living” community resource hosted on GitHub and maintained through ELIXIR. Input in the form of test data, examples or code is welcome so that the content can be continuously expanded and improved.

The FAIR Cookbook is aimed primarily at those working in the life sciences who need guidance on how to apply the FAIR principles in practice. However, researchers and data stewards from other disciplines will also find one or two interesting ideas for their own processes.

Using two examples, the participants were introduced to different procedures and challenges of FAIRification. The procedure is oriented towards the different problems of the datasets and the goals of the research projects.

The first example involved data from toxicological studies that were available in the form of Excel tables with incomplete or inconsistent metadata. The FAIRification focused here on the identification of the chemical substances by means of unique and globally accepted identifiers (PIDs) and the conversion into the SEND format (standard for the exchange of non-clinical data), in particular to improve the interoperability of the data.

The FAIRification objective in the second example on the CARE dataset (research results on the anti-SARS-CoV-2 effect of approved drugs) focused on improving findability and re-usability. Despite being made available on Zenodo, this dataset, which was highly relevant in times of the Corona pandemic, was only little viewed and downloaded. With the provision in a suitable subject-specific repository and more structure in the metadata, the FAIRification level could be increased from 37.5 to 92.5 according to the FAIRplus Dataset Maturity (DSM) Model.


The General FAIRification Process

  1. Determine the FAIRIfication goal: What should be improved? Findability, accessibility, interoperability, reusability?
  2. Data examination with regard to the FAIRification goal: identify data requirements; identify FAIRification opportunities; develop FAIRification resources.
  3. Design decisions: Develop a solution plan including cost-benefit assessment.
  4. Implementation phase: Execution of the solution plan.


Interactive at the Miro-Board

In the last part of the session, the participants were able to collect questions, challenges, comments and their own solutions on a prepared Miro board and assign them to the individual FAIR aspects (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). The various experiences from other disciplines in the network were discussed.


The Next Open Meeting of the RDM Network – Save the Date

Date: June 14, 2022
Time: 10am to 12 noon
Location: Zoom – Registration
Topic: RDM in clinical trials


Learn More

For more information, we recommend you record the FAIR Cookbook webinar from 2021, which is available on Youtube.

If you also want to become a part of the RDM network at RWTH, then subscribe to the mailing list “DataStewards@RWTH”.

If you have any questions about the RDM network or RDM in general, just write a message to the IT-ServiceDesk. The RDM Team looks forward to hearing from you.


Responsible for the content of this article are Sophia Nosthoff and Ute Trautwein-Bruns.

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