Creating or Joining an RDA Working Group

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RDA Working Groups (WGs) should tangibly accelerate progress in concrete ways for specific communities with the overarching goal of increasing data-driven innovation. Efforts are intended to promote data sharing and exchange, interoperability, data use and re-use, data discoverability and analysis, data stewardship and preservation, and best practice for substantive communities.

Although specific outcomes will vary, all WGs should strive for “focused effort and tangible progress.”

  • “Harvestable” efforts for which roughly 12-18 months of work can eliminate a roadblock for a substantial community focused on innovation.
  • Efforts that have substantive applicability to particular segments of the data community, but may not apply to everyone.
  • Efforts where working scientists and researchers can start today to get something done now, while more long-term or far-reaching solutions are being appropriately discussed through other vehicles.

In addition to the shorter-term, outcome-oriented focus of the RDA Working Groups described herein, critical longer-term R&D efforts, supported by Government sponsors, the Private Sector, and others, must continue to promote innovation and discovery. The RDA Working Group process is meant to complement those efforts in the short-term.

Joining a Working Group

You can find a list of the current RDA Working Groups here. Any member of the RDA can join a Working Group by navigating to the group's page and selecting "Join group" in the box on the right-hand side of the group's page. 

Creating a Working Group

Working Groups (WGs) require more commitment than Interest Groups. Working Groups develop Case Statements that are then reviewed by the RDA Community, Technical Advisory Board (TAB), and Council. Review criteria include: 

  • Fit with the overall RDA vision and mission
  • International membership spanning, ideally, three or more continents
  • 2-4 co-chairs leading the initiative
  • Measurable outcomes
  • Outcomes will foster data sharing and/or exchange, and be taken up by the intended community
  • Proposed work, outcomes /deliverables, and Action Plan described in the Case Statement can be accomplished in 12-18 months
  • Appropriate scope of the WG
  • The effort adds value over and above what is currently being done within the community.

You can find more information on the required components and review criteria relevant to a Case Statement on the Case Statement page.

Candidate WGs should contact enquiries [at] about their intent to develop an RDA Working Group Case Statement. A Secretariat liaison will then help the group throughout the life of the WG.

The process for setting up an RDA Working group is as follows (see also Figure 1):

  1. The WG develops their Case Statement describing the Working Group’s beneficiaries, goals, outcomes, and operational approach. The WG chair(s) creates a new Case Statement, if there is already an RDA Organic Group for the group, or creates a new Working Group via the “Initiate new group” tab in the “Creating and Managing RDA Groups” menu (you must be logged in to do this), and adds the Case Statement to this group. (The Secretariat is happy to help with this step, please email enquiries[at] if you would like assistance).
  2. The Secretariat notifies the TAB, Council, and the broader community that the document has been posted and is now ready for community review. The community will be given at least four weeks to review and comment on the document. TAB will also designate one or two TAB members to work with the candidate group to help guide the review process and, in particular for Working Groups, advise on technical considerations, representation, and alignment with the RDA Technical Roadmap
  3. If there have been significant comments, the WG is expected to post a revised Case Statement, based on the comments made during community review.
  4. TAB reviews the Case Statement. This is expected to take 2-4 weeks. After TAB has accepted the Charter, TAB will designate a TAB member as liaison to the group. 
  5. After the TAB review, Council will review the Case Statement. This is expected to take about 4 weeks. Council will make one of four possible decisions about a document:
    • Recognized and endorsed as is: Strong Case Statement. Group is recognized as RDA WG and should commence its work.
    • Recognized and endorsed subject to specific revisions: Worthwhile idea, changes need to be made to strengthen the Case Statement and meet approval criteria. After the approach has been modified, the group will be recognized by RDA and commence its work.
    • Encouraged but not presently endorsed: Good idea but needs refinement. The group needs to mature its concept and refine its Case Statement for approval. Council and/or TAB will provide specific feedback and clarification on what is needed.
    • Not endorsed: The idea is not a good fit for the RDA or does not meet other criteria for approval. Council will provide specific feedback and clarification. Council may feel that the group may be more appropriate as discussion-oriented Interest Groups, from which specific outcome-oriented Working Group ideas and Case Statement submissions may arise later.
  6. After the Council review, a designated member of either TAB or Council, or the Secretariat will get back to the WG chairs with any comments or revisions, and information on who will work with the group on those. The chairs then post a revised version of the Case Statement on the case statement page.
  7. TAB and/or Council will review the Case Statement again. If Council perceives reasonable community consistence and clear needs, deliverables, and beneficiaries, they formally recognize the group.


Working Groups should deliver their outputs after 12-18 months. For more information on what  WG Outputs look like, please refer to the Working Group Outputs page.

The outcomes of recognized Working Groups, especially their Recommendations, are strongly promoted by Council, the OAB, the TAB, the Secretariat, and the RDA Membership at large. We work hard to encourage research agencies, industry, and academia to adopt the products of RDA Working Groups.

Closing out a Working Group

After a Working group has delivered its outputs, the group will need to choose one of the following options: 

a) The Working Group finishes and disbands, and is now listed under "Historical Groups". The group is expected prior to disbanding to ensure its Recommendation(s) will be dealt with as per its maintenance plan. This might involve passing responsibility to a specific organisation or another WG/IG.

b) The Working Group enters maintenance phase, with the purpose of managing the maintenance activities and supporting the adopters of the original Recommendation. In this case, there is no review at the start of the group. The WG simply states it wishes to become a Maintenance Group.

c) The Working Group starts a new WG to produce a new version or significant update of the recommendation, or to tackle additional work to e.g. cover more use cases. In this case, there is a light-weight review consisting of  a community review, the OAB is invited to comment, and finally there are quick yes/no decisions by TAB and Council.

d) The Working Group starts a new IG to serve as a platform for communication and coordination around the WG's topic. In this case, the review also consists of a community review, the OAB is invited to comment, and finally there are quick yes/no decisions by TAB and Council.

For more information, please refer to: