Practical Policy WG







Case Statements




Status: Recognised & Endorsed

What is the Problem?

Computer actionable policies are used to enforce management, automate administrative tasks, validate assessment criteria, and automate scientific analyses.  The benefits of using policies include minimization of the amount of labor needed to manage a collection, the ability to publish to the users the rules that are being used, and the ability to automate process management.

Currently all sites and scientific communities use their own set of policies, if any. A generic set of policies that can be revised and adapted by user communities and site managers who need to build up their own data collection in a trusted environment does not exist.

What are the Goals?

The goals of the working group therefore are

  • To bring together practitioners in policy making and policy implementation
  • To identify typical application scenarios for policies such as replication, preservation etc.
  • To collect and to register practical policies
  • To enable sharing, revising, adapting, and re-using of computer actionable policies

What is the Solution?

In cooperation with the Engagement Interest Group of the Research Data Alliance the Practical Policy Working Group has conducted a survey of production data management systems to elicit the types of policies that are being enforced. Across diverse environments, the survey identified eleven generic policy areas that were of interest to a majority of the institutions and are common to almost all data management systems:

  1. Contextual metadata extraction
  2. Data access control
  3. Data backup
  4. Data format control
  5. Data retention
  6. Disposition
  7. Integrity (including replication)
  8. Notification
  9. Restricted searching
  10. Storage cost reports
  11. Use agreements

Each of the generic policy areas actually represents a set of policies. Policies are needed to set environmental variables that control the execution of the policy; to enforce desired collection properties; and to validate assessment criteria. For all policies, a description of the motivation for the policy is provided, templates for the production policies have been generated, and collected in the document “Outcomes Policy Templates: Practical Policy Working Group, September 2014”

Additionally example policies that implement the management objectives and their English language description have been collected in the document “Implementations: Practical Policy Working Group, September 2014”.

What is the Impact?

The target communities for application of computer actionable policies are groups managing data collections who want to track best practices and data centers that will build upon policy starter kits.  The impact will be improved data center administration. By sharing policies that implement best management practices, communities can interoperate and share data more effectively.

The use of practical policies will be at the basis of establishing trust in the data being created since we can verify the provenance of each single data object and will understand even after years in which contexts and with help of which operations data objects have been created.

The identified generic policies overlap with the contents of many RDA groups and might affect their outputs, e.g., in the areas of PIDs, metadata, data publishing, preservation, access, certification, etc., as well as the community related groups.

The implemented policies can be modified to implement the specific policy required by an institution.  Thus the policies should be treated as examples of approaches for controlling a desired property of a data management system.

When can it be used?

Immediately! The identified policy sets from the Practical Policy working group are available in the RDA file depot at

“Outcomes Policy Templates: Practical Policy Working Group, September 2014”

“Implementations: Practical Policy Working Group, September 2014”

Reviews of the provided policy areas are currently (September 2014) in progress. The outcomes will be published in the RDA file depot.

Official published output is available at: dx.doi.org/10.15497/83E1B3F9-7E17-484A-A466-B3E5775121CC


For more information please contact

Reagan Moore rwmoore@renci.org and Rainer Stotzka rainer.stotzka@kit.edu.