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Building Foundational Training in Research Data Science (with RDA)

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Building Foundational Training in Research Data Science (with RDA)

All of the following goals contribute directly to the third strategic priority area of CODATA, namely to build capacity for improving skills and the functioning of science systems (particularly in LMIC’s). The goals are to:

  • provide a framework for the Research Data Science training network to continue collaboration around further development and improvement of the curriculum and training materials for this rapidly evolving topic. The TG will provide community members with an essential platform for keeping up to date with related initiatives and resources. The platform will contribute to the streamlining of material development and will allow for the early identification of duplication where joint efforts may be a more sensible approach.
  • run further foundational Research Data Science Summer schools. Through running the schools we will not only contribute directly by training up students in these foundational skills, but the experience of running more schools will also contribute to the streamlining of documentation describing the logistics as well as lead to maturity of the training material. The availability of these materials will facilitate the roll out of the schools in other geographic locations;
  • determine the optimal method to build a train-the-trainers network for such schools, particularly for Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) and deliver a report on this. One of the biggest bottlenecks today in rolling out these schools to a larger audience is still the number of available trainers who could travel to various locations. The TG will investigate the best way to build a trainer network who could teach these schools, implement the train-the-trainer programme, and compile a report on this activity.
  • Apply for funding from a variety of different sources to fund schools and further the activities of the TG. This is important to ensure that the schools are kept going in the immediate future. The outcome (if successful) will be the funding for the schools over the next 12-24 months and hence maintaining momentum.
  • Develop a business model so that the teaching for the schools run on a sustainable basis. This is essential as the schools cannot be maintained on an ad hoc basis in the longer term. The TG will work with partners to establish a model which will allow the running of more schools without the need for finding ad hoc funding for every school that is organised. The business model will be published and trialled over the lifespan of the TG to test it’s validity and get  peer feedback which will allow future improvement to the model.

Task Group outputs

Reports, white papers, other publications, technical proposals etc.

  • Report on optimising train-the-trainers network.
  • Report on sustainable business model.
  • Two status reports.
  • Awareness-raising materials for Higher Education and Industry, e.g. video clips, brochures, slide shows about the schools.

Data products, web resources, software tools etc.

Teaching materials developed will be available  at an Open Repository, such as ZENODO, and made citable (i.e. each item will have a DOI).  The materials will also be published under open licenses such as Creative Commons to ensure the broadest possible reuse is enabled.

Conferences, workshops, meetings and associated reports.

  • Growing a global education in Research Data Science, SciDataCon Workshop, Denver September 2016
  • “Data Science 101 – the importance of the basics”, presentation at Defining Data Professionals, SciDataCon Workshop, September 2016
  • Science Forum South Africa – 8-9 Dec 2016
  • OpenCon November 2017


Additional schools run at Trieste and South Africa.

Task Group Activities

  • Debriefing of Trieste and recommendations, Sep-16
  • Initial meeting at SciDataCon, Sep-16
  • Teleconference to discuss business model, Dec-16
  • Delivery of business model report, Feb-17
  • Proposal to DIRISA, Mar-17
  • Proposal to Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Apr-17
  • Submission of paper to DSJ, May-17
  • Teleconference on train-the-trainers report, Jun-17
  • Run second school at Trieste, Jul-17
  • Status report, Sep-17
  • Report on train-the-trainers strategy, Oct-17
  • Formal review of materials, Nov-17
  • Proposal to EU, Jan-18
  • Run first Africa school, Mar-18
  • Status report, May-18
  • Submission of paper to DSJ, Jun-18


Robert Quick
UITS Research Technologies, Indiana University
rquick (at)

Hugh Shanahan
Department of Computer Science, Royal Holloway, University of London
Hugh.Shanahan (at)

Marcela Alfaro Córdoba

Universidad de Costa Rica
marcela.alfarocordoba [at]

Sarah Jones
Digital Curation Centre, Scotland
Sarah.Jones [at]

Ciira Maina
Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Kenya:
ciira.maina [at]