WorldFAIR Project (D6.1) Cross-national Social Sciences survey FAIR implementation case studies

McEachern, Steven; Orten, Hilde; Thome Petersen, Hanna; Perry, Ryan

This report provides an overview of the data harmonisation practices of comparative (cross-national) social surveys, through case studies of: (1) the European Social Survey (ESS) and (2) a satellite study, the Australian Social Survey International – European Social Survey (AUSSI-ESS). To do this, we compare and contrast the practices between the Australian Data Archive and Sikt.no, the organisations responsible for the data management of ESS and AUSSI-ESS. 

The case studies consider the current data management and harmonisation practices of study partners in the ESS, including an analysis of the current practices with FAIR data standards, particularly leveraging FAIR Information Profiles (FIPs) and FAIR Enabling Resources (FERs). 

The comparative analysis of the two case studies considers key similarities and differences in the management of the two data collections. Core differences in the use of standards and accessible, persistent registry services are highlighted, as these impact on the potential for shared, integrated reuse of services and content between the two partner organisations.

The report concludes with a set of recommended practices for improved management and automation of ESS data going forward—setting the stage for Phase 2 of WorldFAIR Work Package 6—and outlines the proposed means for implementing this management in the two partner organisations. These recommendations focus on three areas of shared interest:

  1. Aligning standards
  2. Establishing common tools
  3. Establishing and using registries

in order to advance implementation of the FAIR principles, and to improve interoperability and reusability of digital data in social sciences research. 

The full report is available on Zenodo.

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WorldFAIR: Global cooperation on FAIR data policy and practice – workshops introduce wide range of research domains to FAIR Implementation Profiles

The WorldFAIR project held a series of successful workshops between July and October 2022 to introduce and complete FAIR Implementation Profiles (FIPs) with eleven case study work packages.  This process culminated in a plenary meeting of the WorldFAIR case studies, “FIPs in WorldFAIR: What have we learnt?” which took place as part of the FAIR Convergence Symposium in Leiden on 25 October 2022.
 
The WorldFAIR project is a major global collaboration between partners from thirteen countries across Africa, Australasia, Europe, and North and South America.  WorldFAIR advances implementation of the FAIR data principles, in particular those for Interoperability, by developing a cross-domain interoperability framework and recommendations for FAIR assessment in a set of eleven disciplines or cross-disciplinary research areas.
 
The WorldFAIR case studies have been carefully chosen to provide maximum impact. The objective of each case study is to develop an interoperability framework for their discipline or interdisciplinary research area. They are clustered in connected groups in order to maximise scope while retaining a critical mass of activity and allowing learning and cross-fertilisation of ideas. Collected from CODATA and RDA activities and partnerships, the case studies include leading organisations in a range of research areas, supporting the creation of outputs with global impact.
 
The FIPs approach consists of a set of questions about practice in relation to each of the FAIR principles.  It is supported by an online tool, the FIPs Wizard. One of the potential benefits of this approach is the creation, as ‘nanopublications’ of a set of FIPs and FAIR Enabling Resources, coded in RDF, which can be read by machines, visualised, and analysed. With use, the creation of more FIPs and FERs will furnish a resource which can potentially give great insights into FAIR practices.
 
At our plenary workshop during the FAIR Convergence Symposium, six of the case studies presented and reflected on the process of constructing their FIP, specifically what they learned from the process; whether using FIPs helped describe practices around FAIR; whether the FIP helped identify any gaps or areas which would benefit from further attention; ways in which the FIPs methodology and the tools around it can be improved; and the identification of next steps.  Arofan Gregory (CODATA) then reflected on the implications of these observations for our work on the Cross-Domain Interoperability Framework, a major output of WorldFAIR.

We are grateful to Leah McEwan, Ian Bruno and Stuart Chalk (Chemistry); Iseult Lynch and Thomas Exner (Nanomaterials); Steve McEachern and Hilde Orten (Social Surveys); Maarten Trekels and Debora Drucker (Agricultural Biodiversity); Bapon Fakhruddin and Jill Bolland (Disaster Risk Reduction) and Beth Knazook (Cultural Heritage) for their insights.
 
WorldFAIR forms the core of CODATA’s contribution to the International Science Council (ISC) Action Plan Project 2.1, Making Data Work For Cross-Domain Grand Challenges.  WorldFAIR runs for 24 months from 1 June 2022 and is funded by the European Commission through its Horizon Europe Framework Programme, project call HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ERA-01-01, grant agreement 101058393. Project website: https://worldfair-project.eu.  

‘Global cooperation on FAIR data policy and practice’ (WorldFAIR) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe project call HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ERA-01-01, grant agreement 101058393. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. 
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Dagstuhl Workshop “Interoperability for Cross-Domain Research: Machine-Actionability & Scalability”

The “Interoperability for Cross-Domain Research: Machine-Actionability & Scalability” workshop was held at Schloss Dagstuhl from August 28 to September 2, 2022 (https://www.dagstuhl.de/22353). The workshop was the fourth in a series, starting in 2018, exploring the role of metadata standards and the issues around interoperability in the cross-domain sharing and reuse of research data. It was jointly supported by CODATA, the DDI AllianceSchloss Dagstuhl, the Leibniz Center for Informatics, and the EU-funded WorldFAIR project, of which CODATA is the coordinator. With the current interest in the FAIR principles and their application to interdisciplinary research data, the focus of the workshop was on specific approaches which could be employed within large-scale infrastructures spanning domain boundaries.

The workshop involved 23 participants from 10 countries, and included experts from many disciplines and organisations, including infectious disease, the social, behavioural, and economic sciences, environmental science, disaster risk reduction, geographic information science, and others. The work was divided into three groups, looking at different aspects of interoperability: integration of primary and reference data; access to sensitive data; and common approaches to large-scale oceans and disaster data. Several WorldFAIR case studies contributed to these groups. A fourth group looked at how the findings in each area could be combined in a cross-domain interoperability framework, and a fifth looked at the RDF expression of some core data and metadata models. Further information on the workshop themes and the groups’ activity can be found on the workshop wiki.

The workshop was very successful in meeting its agreed goals. One was the production of an initial draft of a cross-domain interoperability framework (CDIF), which is central to the work of the WorldFAIR project and other fora looking at cross-domain interoperability. CDIF is a proposed set of recommended best practices for using a coordinated set of domain-agnostic standards – most often as specific subsets or profiles of those standards – to support a core set of functions for cross-domain FAIR reuse. The group work on specific topics has resulted in a number of planned publications, and one or more collaborative projects between some of the participating institutions. 

The workshop showed that Schloss Dagstuhl’s reputation as a venue for intensive collaborative work is well-deserved. Over the course of this series of workshops, solutions to the problem of cross-domain interoperability have gained a sharper focus, leading to the concrete outputs which will serve as a basis for ongoing work. A fifth workshop in the series, ‘Defining a core metadata framework for cross-domain data sharing and reuse’, is planned for the fall of 2023, as well as a workshop on the application of DDI’s Cross-Domain Integration standard.  

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