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07 Dec 2023

Knowledge Networks via the Community Cross-fertilisation Workshops

2023 saw the launch of a new RDA community activity, the Community Cross-fertilisation workshops. This has been a significant grass roots endeavour over the last 12 months, covering a diversity of research data-related topics of interest to the global RDA community. 

Aligned with the 10th Anniversary schedule, eight virtual workshops took place to bring RDA Working groups, Interest groups and Communities of Practice together with members of the wider research data community to discuss the future of different research data management themes. 

A series of short reports summarising the main challenges, solutions, initiatives, and actions for the RDA community identified during each workshop have been crafted by the community, and published and promoted online. 

Now, as the programme draws to an end, the RDA Secretariat would like to say a big thank you to the RDA community for making the Community Cross-fertilisation workshops a success. And, special thanks to RDA Community Development team members, Connie Clare and Kathryn Barker, for leading this venture, and for inspiring and engaging the community with these events. 

Impact at a glance: Numbers to reflect success


Where did the idea for the Community Cross-fertilisation Workshops come from? 

The RDA comprises more than 100 community groups that are all working on different research data-related topics. There are, however, many similarities and synergies between groups, and there is a desire among the community for collaboration and harmonisation. The Community Cross-fertilisation Workshops were designed to provide a unique opportunity for RDA groups with a similar focus or interest to connect, learn about one another’s work, brainstorm common challenges, exchange knowledge and ideas, propose solutions, and identify actions to be implemented by the RDA community in the future.  

What happened during the workshops?

Each 90-minute workshop was co-organised by RDA members who served as workshop leads. Each lead presented a short overview of their respective RDA groups aims, objectives, and deliverables, before sharing their group’s specific challenges, solutions, and initiatives. During an open discussion, all workshop participants shared their thoughts, perspectives, and ideas, and a collaborative notes document was used to capture the main points. 

What made the workshops successful? 

  1. The creation of knowledge networks
    It was rewarding to see many RDA members, who may never have previously had the chance to connect, come together to discuss and collaborate on topics they are passionate about. These workshops provided a unique opportunity for cross-disciplinary engagement.

  2. A low barrier to participation
    Providing multiple ways for participants to contribute during each workshop lowered the barrier to participation. They could either share comments verbally, in the Zoom chat, or in the collaborative notes document which allowed everyone to feel comfortable and able to contribute in different ways.

  3. Motivated RDA members
    Workshop participants were actively engaged and ready for an interactive, fruitful discussion which resulted in the collection of a rich and diverse set of challenges, solutions, initiatives, and actions for the RDA community to take forward. The motivation, dedication and supportiveness of the global volunteer RDA community never ceases to amaze.  

What are the next steps? 

To conclude the Community Cross-fertilisation Workshop series, in November the RDA Secretariat organised two ‘Community Cross-fertilisation Carousel’ events that took attendees through a whistle-stop tour of the workshop series. 

The slides and recordings are available here.

In 2024 and beyond, it will be important to reflect on the key outcomes of the workshops, particularly as the RDA launches its new 5-year strategic plan.

Watch this space for next year’s events and activities!

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