Research Data Alliance Delivers on its Mission to Accelerate Data Sharing and Exchange

Fifth Plenary Meeting in San Diego Celebrates Organization’s Two-Year Success in Developing Global Partnerships and Member Engagement

March 12, 2015


Troy, NY – Representatives from the international data community are convening this week in San Diego, California, to attend the Fifth Plenary Meeting of the Research Data Alliance (RDA). With the theme “Adopt a Deliverable,” approximately four hundred participants, including faculty and students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), are collaborating on new ways to foster an open environment of data sharing and exchange.

RDA is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the United States, the European Commission, and the Australian government. NSF selected Rensselaer to expand U.S. involvement in this international data community through RDA/US. RDA/US is led by Dr. Francine Berman, chair of RDA/US and Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer, and Kathleen Fontaine, managing director of RDA/US.

In just two years, RDA has grown into a global community that now comprises more than 2,600 members from over 90 countries, dedicated to removing the barriers to data sharing through the development of deliverables – or specific tools, recommendations, or products – which are ultimately adopted by projects, organizations, and communities throughout the world. 

At RDA’s Fifth Plenary Meeting, numerous organizations are presenting their success stories related to the adoption of RDA’s deliverables. From the U.S., adopters include Rensselaer, Deep Carbon Observatory, Kent State University, and Washington University in St. Louis. European Collaborative Data Infrastructure (EUDAT), Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure (CLARIN), and the German Climate Computing Center represent the European region.

Additional activities occurring during the meeting include a combination of breakout sessions and plenary sessions focused on topics including big data, training, data fabric, interoperability, data stewardship, and metadata standards. Several Rensselaer students and employees also are presenting on topics related to data sharing in the fields of humanities and ethnography, including Stephan Zednik, a senior software engineer with the Tetherless World Constellation at RPI, who will deliver a session on overcoming key technological issues through the creation of persistent identifiers and domain-specific data types.

Keynote speakers are: Margaret Leinen, vice chancellor for marine sciences, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and dean of the School of Marine Sciences at UC San Diego; Stephen Friend, president, co-founder, and director of Sage Bionetworks; and Naoyuki Tsunematsu, principal adviser, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Japan.  

"RDA’s success in its first two years and the overwhelming support we’ve received during this meeting clearly demonstrate the organization’s growing importance in the global research data community,” said Fontaine. “We are grateful for the support received both internationally and nationally, including from Rensselaer, and look forward to continuing in our mission to achieve research sharing without barriers.” 

For more information on RDA, visit


Written By Mary L. Martialay
Press Contact Mary L. Martialay
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