ANDS attracts new funding
In the recent Federal budget ANDS was allocated $48 million from the Education Investment Fund (EIF) to create and develop an Australian Research Data Commons research infrastructure. In the coming months ANDS will be consulting with the sector on the final form that this project will take. A preliminary version of our intended focus areas is below.
ANDS and the Australian Research Data Commons
The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) will support the discovery of, and access to, research data held in Australian universities, publicly funded research agencies and government organisations for the use of research. The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) has a charter to build the ARDC. It will enable the construction of a range of ICT utilities to capitalise on and ensure greater use and re-use of existing data resources, as well as better management of new data generated in Australian research.
The Australian Research Data Commons represents a very significant change in how we can approach research data in Australia, enabling Australia’s research data as a whole to become a nationally strategic resource. It will give an advantage to Australian researchers in three significant ways:
- research data will be routinely published, enhancing the reputation of Australian researchers,
- it will be easier for international researchers to work with Australian researchers because of the excellence of the Australian research data environment, and
- new research will be carried out using existing data more effectively and often, exploiting more completely the value of Australia’s research data.
To achieve this we need to construct the infrastructure necessary to enable researchers to benefit from the Australian Research Data Commons. Thus we need the infrastructure to:
- make available feeds of data collection descriptions from a range of public sector agencies,
- federate and make visible the Data Commons,
- enable data/metadata management and sharing for research producing institutions,
- enable capture of data and metadata from research instruments, and
- allow users to fully exploit the data held in the commons.
Data Capture Infrastructure
Existing data capture infrastructure commonly used by Australian researchers and research institutions must be adapted to ensure that the creation and capture phases of research are fully integrated for effective ingestion into the Research Data and Metadata Stores. This integration will make it easier for researchers to contribute data to the commons directly from the lab, instrument, field work site, etc. It will ensure higher quality metadata (critical for re-use and discovery) can be produced consistently when possible through automated systems.
Research Metadata Store Infrastructure
Metadata stores are needed at research producing institutions. Data and metadata capture infrastructure needs a combination of data stores provided through ARCS and metadata stores provided by ANDS to hold all relevant information. Researchers need to be able to automatically or by deliberate choice publish their data using this infrastructure combined with the national services.
Automatic Public Data Publication Infrastructure
Infrastructure is needed to make available feeds of data collection descriptions from a range of public sector agencies. These would include producers of research outputs such as the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and GeoScience Australia. It would also include owners of data gathering activities and collections that might be research inputs, such as Departments of Primary Industry, Museums, and Libraries.
Australian Research Data Commons Core Infrastructure
Infrastructure is needed to federate and make visible the Data Commons. This includes
· persistent identification of data collections,
· feeds from authoritative sources of information about people, organisations, research activities, funded programs,
· a collections registry to store the metadata harvested from data holders,
· discovery services to enable users of the Data Commons to find and access data holdings, and
· vocabulary services to ensure that the data is of high quality and thus the discovery services produce the most effective experience.
Australian Research Data Commons Applications Infrastructure
Infrastructure is needed to fully exploit the data held in the commons. This includes infrastructure to support:
· data integration, fusion, and merging,
· data visualisation, and
· data analysis.
The approach taken will be to work closely with leading research groups and Super Science initiatives on specific tools for the use and re-use of the newly created pool of data assets in the commons.