Creating or Joining an RDA Interest Group

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22 March 2016 27459 reads


RDA Interest Groups are comprised of experts from the community that are committed to directly or indirectly enabling data sharing, exchange, or interoperability. These groups develop brief charters that also undergo a review process before the group is endorsed by RDA.  RDA endorsement is dependent upon the Interest Group serving as a platform for communication and coordination among individuals, outside and within RDA, with shared interests. They produce important deliverables such as surveys, reports, and Working Group Case Statements.

These groups must have international participation and a demonstrated community and should not be for promoting specific projects or technologies. They are long-term initiatives within the RDA and remain in operation as long as they remain active, subject to periodic evaluation of their activity and its relevance to RDA aims.  A group may be declared inactive for a variety of reasons. Interest Groups that have shown no activity for 1 year will initially be contacted by a member of the RDA Secretariat or the RDA Technical Advisory Board to see if RDA can help re-invigorate the group.

With respect to function and outcomes, Interest Groups may do one or more of the following:

  • Serve as a platform that leads to the formation of one or more Working Groups. An existing Interest Group may refine their ideas into implementable actions by creating focused Case Statements to create one or more Working Groups. The process of establishing a Working Group is described in the “Creating or Joining an RDA Working Group” section.
  • Support communication and coordination among a cluster of related Working Groups/Interest Groups that may be grouped by theme (e.g., research domain, data publishing, data life cycle component, etc.)
  • Enable better communication and coordination across different Working Groups/Interest Groups (e.g., all domain-specific groups, all education groups, between technically oriented and domain-specific groups, etc.)
  • Serve to communicate and coordinate with a specific community outside RDA, fostering synergies, bringing new groups/members to RDA and conversely bringing the gropup's activities to the attention of external parties.

Interest Groups undergo a formal review (see Figure 1) by the community, the Technical Advisory Board (TAB), from a technical perspective, and Council, from a strategic perspective, before they are recognized and endorsed by RDA. Review criteria include the following:

  • 2-4 co-chairs leading the initiative
  • Members are international experts, ideally the group spans at least 3 continents
  • Platform for communication and coordination around the topic of interest
  • Not promoting one specific product or technology
  • No overlap with existing IGs / WGs

Joining an Interest Group

A list of the currrent RDA Interest Groups can be found here. Any member of the RDA can join an Interest Group by navigating to the group's page and selecting "Join group" on the right hand side of the page. 

Creating an Interest Group

  1. The prospective Interest Group (IG) puts together a short charter following the Interest Group Charter template, describing their activities and listing two to four co-chairs. One of the IG members (typically a chair) creates a new Interest Group via the “Initiate new group” tab in the “Creating and Managing RDA Groups” menu, and changes the Group Type to "Interest Group". Once the group has been published (this is done by the Secretariat),  the group chair adds the charter to this group. (The Secretariat is happy to help with this step, please email enquiries[at] if you would like assistance). The Secretariat designates a liaison to work with the proposed IG, and will contact the IG chairs.
  2. The Secretariat notifies the TAB, Council, and the broader community that the document has been posted and is now ready for community review. The community will be given at least four weeks to review and comment on the document. If there have been significant comments, the IG is expected to post a revised Charter, based on the comments made during community review.
  3. In parallel to the Community Review phase, TAB starts to review the Charter. This is expected to take 4-6 weeks. TAB will come to one of the three following conclusions:
    • The Charter is sufficient. TAB has accepted the Charter, and it will be forwarded on to Council for the final step of the review process.
    • The Charter requires revision. TAB will communicate the required changes to the group chairs. Once these changes have been made, the Charter will be deemed sufficient by TAB.
    • The Charter is rejected. TAB will communicate the reasons for this decision to the group chairs.

    After TAB has accepted the Charter, TAB will designate a TAB member as liaison to the group. 

  4. Council reviews the IG Charter in consultation with TAB, and makes one of four possible decisions:
    • Recognized and endorsed as is: Strong Charter. Group is recognized as an RDA IG and should commence its work.
    • Recognized and endorsed subject to specific revisions: Worthwhile idea, changes need to be made to strengthen the Charter and meet approval criteria. After the approach has been modified, the group will be recognized by RDA and commence its work.
    • Encouraged but not presently endorsed: Good idea but needs refinement. The group needs to mature its concept and refine its Charter for approval. Council and/or TAB will provide specific feedback and clarification on what is needed.
    • Not endorsed: The idea is not a good fit for the RDA or does not meet other criteria for approval. Council will provide specific feedback and clarification.
  5. If Council perceives reasonable community consistence and clear needs, deliverables, and beneficiaries, they formally recognize and endorse the group.


Once the IG is recognised, the Secretariat will help the IG establish working, communication, and recording processes. Joint activities with RDA affiliates are encouraged.

IG Review process diagram


Figure 1: IG Charter Review Process - Charter Development to Endorsement.


Making Changes to an existing Interest Group

If the IG wishes to make any changes to the IG Chairs, change its name or make any other changes to its Charter, please contact the RDA Secretariat at enquiries[at]rd-alliance[dot]org. The process for making changes to the group name or refreshing a Charter will usually involve a 1-month community review period, followed by an expedited review by TAB and Council.

IGs that have been active for a long time are encouraged to refresh their Charter about every 3-5 years.


Closing out an Interest Group 

Interest Groups do not have a fixed duration and can remain operational as long as the group is active. If you, as co-chair of a IG, and your fellow co-chairs want to close the Interest Group, please email the RDA Secretariat at enquiries[at]rd-alliance[dot]org and state the reasons for wanting the group to be closed. The Secretariat will then contact you about the next steps.


Additional Information

Copyright Licence

To ensure the continued right to share, use and build upon the work produced by the RDA community through its various Groups, the RDA rightfully applies the following Licensing information:

"All RDA Recommendations are under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) and all authors, generators, contributors and users of RDA Recommendations are governed by these licensing regulations”.


RDA Working and Interest Group Chairs: Roles and Responsibilities

Interest Group Charter Template DOI 10.15497/RDA00079