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Scholarship recipient reflections on RDAP24 - CJ Woodford

April 12, 2024 1:12 PM | Jennifer Chaput (Administrator)

Up until March 31st, I worked as a research associate with the World Data System International Technology Office (WDS-ITO). The WDS is a community of data repositories and affiliated organizations who have a shared interest in ensuring high quality data and processes that feed into and enable first class research. The goal of the ITO is to support the capabilities, impact, and sustainability of our member repositories and research infrastructure on the whole through the building of trustworthy and enduring global research data infrastructure for the public good.

I was fortunate to attend the RDAP 2024 Summit as both a participant for all sessions and as a speaker for Session 4A. My work within the ITO focused on supporting the Research Data Alliance Global Open Research Commons International Model Working Group (RDA GORC IM WG), whose outputs of an international commons model I co-created and presented on at RDAP2024. Participating in RDAP2024 helped shed light on where research infrastructures big and small are encountering roadblocks to research data management and interoperability, which is extremely helpful for identifying where to focus building the model and developing implementations that address what infrastructure providers, data librarians, and research support staff are experiencing on the ground.

Although I won’t be working with the WDS-ITO anymore, I will continue to work with RDA groups and specifically the GORC IM WG in my new role at the Digital Research Alliance of Canada. My experience at RDAP2024 helped prepare me for the types of technical and procedural issues that are at play for supporting research in our changing environment. One area that continues to surprise me is how to deal with sensitive and restricted data such that it complies with all legal and ethical frameworks but is still of use to the research community, and in particular is FAIR. It was surprising to learn that encryption and deidentification of data don’t fulfill the same requirements for sensitive data - you can’t just do one or the other! Data needs to be deidentified before being encrypted to be compliant with our legal frameworks.

It was incredible to hear all of the different projects and experiences from folks in so many different positions. I was especially blown away by Abigail Goben in Session 7B who relayed her experience and tips on data services strategic planning and the need to work with governance to secure interest and resources. I learned a lot about navigating relatively high-stakes interactions through Abigail’s incredible presentation and thoughtful discussion.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the summit, I was shocked by how many folks were reinventing the wheel within their institutions. I am privileged to have worked in an internationally-focused organization and exposed to the plethora of resources from the global community on all-things-data, such as RDA outputs. I would love to see folks from RDAP participate directly in the international community, or at least consider using some of the work that’s already been done to save time and effort.


The RDAP community brings together a variety of individuals, including data managers and curators, librarians, archivists, researchers, educators, students, technologists, and data scientists from academic institutions, data centers, funding agencies, and industry who represent a wide range of STEM disciplines, social sciences, and humanities.


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