Exploring social dynamics of data interoperability and trustworthiness that shape FAIR in practice

This story provides an insight into the social dimensions involved in data interoperability. Kheeran Dharmawardena, a Strategy Analyst and Social Architect from Cytrax, Australia and Chair of the RDA Interest Group on Social Dynamics of Data Interoperability, shares his experiences of initiating the discussion around this topic both in the Research Data Alliance (RDA) as well as in Australia. His involvement dates back to 2012-2016 when he was working on a number of projects, where he noticed that while the projects were working really well from a technical perspective, they were still struggling. The reason was found to be inadequate consideration of the social aspects of data interoperability. Sometimes the environment was right and the project became a success, and at other times the project struggled. This clearly had to be addressed. But it was not until 2016 when the concept of social dynamics of data interoperability were really starting to take form in his mind. At this time he was leading a project where success was highly dependent on getting different organisations aligned and working together. At the same time, some other Australian projects had started to put the social aspects of IT and data into focus as well, which crystallised the need for further exploration of the topic. Kheeran took his insights to the RDA in 2018 where he organised a ‘Birds of a Feather’ session on the topic. He quickly realised that this was a challenge many faced but something that was not being addressed in a systematic way. As a result of the BoF, the Social Dynamics of Data Interoperability interest group (hereby referred to as ‘IG’) was established. Currently the group is focused on looking at trust and how trust relates to FAIR.

Read the implementation story here or see the FAIRsFAIR website for additional implementation and adoption stories.