NWO joins the Research Data Alliance

NWO has become a partner of the Research Data Alliance. LCRDM will be the link between the local Dutch community and the global community.

NWO has become a partner of the Research Data Alliance, a global organisation that brings together data experts in order to stimulate open sharing and reuse of research data. The partnership agreement was signed on the 1st of January 2024 by Hans de Jonge, director of Open Science NL at NWO, and Hilary Hanahoe, secretary general of Research Data Alliance. 

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) was founded in 2013 by the European Commission, the United States government’s National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Australian government’s Department of Innovation. It supports data professionals, scientists and students, research institutions, funders, and libraries, among others. The RDA has since grown into a vibrant global community in which data experts come together to exchange knowledge and agree on, for example, international standards, training, and policies around research data. The aim is to build the social and technical bridges that enable open sharing and re-use of data.

In the Netherlands, the National Coordination Point Research Data Management (LCRDM) already fulfils an important networking function for data professionals and policymakers. Members of the LCRDM network have already been actively participating in the RDA community. Through forming an official partnership with the RDA, NWO intends to formalise the link between the local Dutch community of data professionals (LCRDM) and the global community and makes further steps in aligning on topics pertaining to research data. 

Since its launch in 2013, many national level funders have joined the original founding organisations under the framework of regional partnership. From 2024, NWO joins them as an important supporter of RDA. Besides institutional and regional partners, RDA also has more than 14,000 individual members drawn from more than 150 countries. In the Netherlands, more than 500 data professionals are already members; they play an active role in the RDA's working and interest groups. With this regional partnership, NWO not only recognises the importance of the RDA and these individual memberships, but also contributes strategically (by participating in the Regional Advisory Board) and financially to long-term sustainability of this essential international community. 

The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) also recently recognised the importance of the Research Data Alliance by selecting it for its fifth pledging round. With this, SCOSS calls on its supporters to financially support RDA, "a well-known, well-established infrastructure that is widely used and makes an important contribution to open science". NWO supports multiple open science infrastructures that have been selected by SCOSS. SCOSS selects applicants based on criteria including the service’s value to communities, governance structure, and sustainability measures, which further signifies the essential role which RDA plays for the global research data community.

NWO and open science

NWO has long been committed to the open sharing and reuse of research data and the transition to open science. Open science leads to more impact of scientific research. But also to more quality and reliability and thus to more trust and support for science. For example, research data generated during NWO projects should be made available as openly as possible. In addition, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science wanted to give open science a major boost and promised the investment of 20 million euros annually until 2031. NWO has been asked to oversee this investment through Open Science NL.