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Research data college: projects for 2020

News from committee

The Research Data College is entering a new phase of its work. It will structure its action for the year 2020 around four major axes which were announced during the National Open Science Days on November 18th and 19th 2019.

1- Feasibility study for a repository service for shared data

Many institutions are or will be opening their data repositories while others would like a shared data repository. In this context, it is becoming essential to study the possibility of a shared service that takes into account the diversity of different initiatives and needs. The Committee for Open Science is conducting an overall national study addressing this issue, the results of which will be published in autumn 2020. Ongoing details of the progress of this study will be made regularly available on the OpenScience.fr website at https://www.ouvrirlascience.fr/college-donnees-de-la-recherche/.

This study is part of the 2 axes of the National Plan for Open Science whose stated objective is

to structure and open up research data. A number of disciplines and data centres (in France and abroad) have been working for many years to open up and share data in accordance with the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) principles


These initiatives are generally disciplinary in nature and do not allow for the processing of heterogeneous and unstructured data – the so-called “long tail” data. All disciplines particularly require support and backing to ensure the FAIR principles are applied to their data. The study’s aim will be to try to find a solution that will make it possible to cover the whole of French territory, encourage sharing as much as possible and ensure centralized levels and distributed elements function well together.

For this reason, a working group called “Feasibility study of a generic service for the reception and dissemination of simple data” has been set up and is made up of fifteen people with different statuses (researchers, STI experts; university and research organization staff) and from different disciplines and institutions. This working group is steered by a consortium of the Research Institute for Development (IRD), the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE), the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Sorbonne University. Its aim is to propose scenarios which enhance thought about the development of a generic service for the reception and dissemination of simple data as stipulated in the National Plan for Open Science.

This working group will base its activities on three operational objectives:

  • expressed requirements;
  • a comparative analysis of the free software programmes which are available;
  • suggesting implementation and governance scenarios.

The group is led by Jean-Christophe Desconnets, director of the IRD’s Infrastructures and Digital Data Mission.

2- Survey on the uses of digital tools and research data in French scientific communities

The aim of the Open Science Barometer is to measure how open access to all scientific resources (publications, data, code) is progressing. Its first results were published in 2019 and concern publications.

A study entitled “Survey on the uses of digital tools and research data in French scientific communities (State of Open Science Practices in France)” is to be launched. Its aim is to extend the first published results to include research data by studying the tools used by researchers and also their data culture.

This study is led by Mariannig Le Béchec, lecturer at the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1.

3- Successfully achieving the appropriation of open science by disciplinary communities

During 2019, a Data College group worked on data usage and governance. This initial study will be continued and enriched in 2020.

This work will be based on the publication of the Data College’s deliverable “Data Uses and Governance” which includes 6 recommendations:

  1. to define what needs to be conserved;
  2. to break down open science through different disciplines;
  3. to help researchers train in legal matters;
  4. to help researchers train in research data curation;
  5. to organize the human support necessary for opening data;
  6. to structure infrastructures to meet the needs of open science.

On the basis of these 6 recommendations, the working group plans to take these axes further by carrying out case studies around three specific disciplinary fields/objects which will make it possible to carry out an inventory of problems and possible orientations.

  • to break down open science’s important issues and perspectives by discipline focusing on data through three case studies: health data, laboratory notebooks and archaeology. The objective here is to take stock of the current situation in three very different fields to identify the difficulties and recommendations adapted to these three fields;
  • to rework the repository of research archives for the fields studied;
  • to organize legal training workshops for the disciplinary communities;
  • to draw up a strategic plan for the human support needed to achieve the objectives of opening data;
  • to continue with and provide input for the feasibility study of a simple data warehouse.

This work is co-financed by the Committee for Open Science and the Coordination of French Research-Intensive Universities (CURIF). It is led by Anne Vanet, vice-president for digital transformation and open science at the University of Paris.

4- The research data prize

The National Plan for Open Science included implementing a research data prize and this will be initiated in 2020. The prize will be funded and is intended to reward “teams that do exemplary work in this field”.

These projects make up the Data College’s current programme for 2020 but other working groups may be set up depending on needs and current events.

For any contact or further information: coso-donnees-cp@groupes.renater.fr

The co-leaders of the Research Data College are
Véronique Stoll and Pierre-Yves Arnould