Data Versioning WG


Group details

Secretariat Liaison: 
Stefanie Kethers
TAB Liaison: 
Tobias Weigel
WGs Getting started (~0-6 months after RDA endorsement)

The demand for reproducibility of research results is growing, Therefore it will become increasingly important for a researcher to be able to cite the exact extract of the data set that was used to underpin their research publication. The capacity of computational hardware infrastructures have grown it is now common to have online petabyte data stores, This has encouraged the development of concatenated seamless data sets where users can use web services to select subsets based on spatial and time queries. Further, the growth in computer power has meant that higher level pre-processed data products can be generated in really short time frames.

This means that data sets and data products are needing some form of systematized way of being able to reference the exact version of the data that was used to underpin the research findings, and/or was used to generate higher level products. This was recognised by the RDA Working Group on Data Citation, whose final report recognises the need for Data Versioning. However, there were no specifics on best practice for data versioning, particularly for large volume multi-terabyte and even petabyte scale data sets. A BoF meeting held at the RDA Plenary in September 2016 in Denver highlighted the fact that there are no recognised best practices for versioning of data.

Versioning procedures and best practices are well established for scientific software and can be used enable reproducibility of scientific results. The codebase of very large software projects does bare some semblance to large dynamic datasets. Are these suitable for data sets or do we need a separate suite of practices for data versioning?

Ultimately versioning concepts developed for research data will need to be brought in line with versioning concepts used in persistent identifier systems.

The BoF initially emerged at Plenary 8 in Denver through the discussion available here:

Recent Activity

21 Feb 2018

RDA Council Endorsement - Data Versioning WG

Dear Members of the RDA Data Versioning WG,
The RDA Council has approved our Data Versioning WG and has updated our group status to fully Recognized and Endorsed. Our TAB Liaison is Tobias Weigel, and Stefanie Kethers will be our Secretariat Liaison.
February 2018 - WG fully endorsed
March 2019 - 12-month community report at P13
August 2019 - WG ends
September 2019 - Final recommendations to be presented at P14
Work beyond August 2019 will require an extension proposal to the RDA TAB.

25 Jan 2018

Versioning use cases and W3C Data Set Exchange Working Group

Dear Members of the RDA Data Versioning Group,
In preparation for RDA P11 in Berlin, we are revising our collection of data versioning use cases. The use cases are documented here:
Please add comments or add changes in edit mode.

05 Sep 2017

RE: W3C Data eXchange Working Group is also considering versioning

Hi Simon,
Thank you for pointing out this current work in W3C, I added it to our collection of materials.
Dr Jens Klump
E ***@***.*** T +61 8 6436 8828
CSIRO ARRC, 26 Dick Perry Avenue, Kensington, WA 6151, Australia

05 Sep 2017

W3C Data eXchange Working Group is also considering versioning

Dear Data Versioners -
Probably of interest that Dataset Versioning is one of the topics on the list for consideration by the W3C Data eXchange Working Group (DXWG [1])- see
Note that the W3C DXWG group is scheduled to deliver by 30 June 2019 [2].
The anticipated products are
1. A revision of the Data Catalogue vocabulary (DCAT)
2. A standard way to formalize DCAT profiles (for a particular community or application)

03 Apr 2017

Remote participation in IG Data Versioning RDA 9th Plenary meeting

Dear Members of the IG Data Versioning,
For those of you who cannot participate in person in the RDA 9th Plenary we have arranged the option of remote participation.
To access the remote meeting link for this session on April 5 from 14:00-15:30 titled "RDA Plenary 9: Data Versioning Interest Group" please go to

23 Mar 2017

Research Data Alliance DDPIG Interim Outputs for review and comment

Dear RDA Interest Group members,

We wish to share with you the draft outputs created by three of
the Task Force teams of the RDA Data Discovery Paradigms Interest
Group. We think one or more of these outputs are relevant to the
work your IG is doing. Your thoughts and feedback on the three
interim documents will be greatly appreciated:

15 Mar 2017


My name is Benno Lee. I am a PhD student at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Insitute studying data set versioning. I was wondering if I could join
into the conversation about new best practices for data sets. I am working
to produce a linked data model that may be useful.