The RfII plenum sets up a work programme and committees or working groups to prepare RfII reports and recommendations on selected topics. As of November 2017 the following projects have been implemented:
For science policy the increasing digitization calls for a strategic order and consolidation of investments in activities for data infrastructures. Comprehensive initiatives such as the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) for the German federal science system and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) for the European Union are answers to this diagnosis. At the same time EOSC and NFDI are driving forward the internationalisation of science communication and information technology networking. In its first country report, the RfII 2017 analysed selected countries and their paths of development in term of research data policy. In view of current goals for Open Science on the one hand and ongoing international, but in particular European networking efforts on the other hand, the RfII has decided to take up further analyses by country and/or regions. The findings on actors, policies, organisational structures and governance models will serve as a basis for further statements and recommendations on the development of information infrastructures in Germany.
With the growth in digital research data, new challenges arise in terms of quality concepts and quality assurance for these data and for the methods in which they contribute to scientific value creation. Not only the integrity of concrete data sets must be guaranteed . In fact, the digitality of research makes it necessary to ensure data quality is maintained in every step of the so-called “data life cycle”. The quality of data management, metadata, standards, and tools, including the corresponding publication, dissemination, and communication cultures, are caught up in a whirlwind of new options and negotiation processes due to the digital transformation. In its position paper PERFORMANCE THROUGH DIVERSITY, the RfII presented initial recommendations to ensure all stakeholders share responsibility for quality and will provide more detailed recommendations in a second position paper.
New approaches to the digitisation of science and consolidation of information infrastructures are being created not only in Germany, but at the European level as well. The RfII monitors these developments, among others the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), to provide science and scientific policy with advice in the upcoming stages. Furthermore, the RfII wishes to support the development and communication of German positions in European and international debates – taking into account the objectives and approaches of various German stakeholders.
The establishment of a national research data infrastructure (NFDI) will require the joint effort of all stakeholders in the scientific system, and therefore correspondingly intensive scientific policy and cross-party support. Further suggestions are required to develop the NFDI and integrate it into the German, European, and international scientific system. In addition to clarifying the options for participation and financing, this also applies to questions regarding evaluation and quality assurance as well as integration of the numerous services already existing in the area of research data management. In the long term legal adjustments will be required as well. In close coordination with the Joint Science Conference and in communicative exchanges with other key organisations in the scientific system, the RfII is working on answers to these questions in order to provide optimal support during the starting phase of the NFDI.
The digital transformation is changing concepts for the re-use and valorisation of scientific output. In the course of the increasing transition to Open Access not only conventional publications but also research data should be available ‚open‘, and at its best free of charge. This also opens up the possibility for commercial providers to exploit these data commercially. However, rules are needed to ensure that this is done transparently and in consideration of scientific interests. In its position paper PERFORMANCE THROUGH DIVERSITY the RfII already pointed to problems and the necessity to design and shape – from a scientific point of view – adequate frames for practising openness of research data. Among other things binding minimum standards for the design of data publications were advocated. Based on these recommendations, and with a view to the EU’s package of measures to promote a single European data space, the RfII will analyse current developments of the transformation to Open Access. The aim is to make recommendations on the active design of the interface between science and the economy.