Co-ordination and support of international research data networks

Décembre 2017, No. 51, © OCDE

Publié le 12 décembre 2017, par Thérèse Hameau


International research data networks are critical for progress in many scientific domains and underpin efforts to promote Open Science. At the same time, many of these networks are fragile and the responsibilities for their support and performance are frequently distributed across a variety of different actors. This report explores the challenges and enablers for the effective functioning of international research data networks. It analyses the diversity and complexity of these networks, and issues such as governance and funding, in a selection of 32 cases. It includes a set of policy recommendations as a basis for building the shared understanding that is necessary to develop effective and sustainable international research data networks.

Executive Summary


The importance of policy

Recommendation 1
Responsible national authorities should be identified and work toward common definitions of, and agreements on, open data.

Recommendation 2
Governments need to work toward commonly agreed and enforced legal and ethical frameworks for the sharing of different types of public research data.

Data networks as critical infrastructure

Recommendation 3
All stakeholders need to recognise international research data networks as a critical part of the generic infrastructure for open science.

Recommendation 4
Responsible national and international authorities must include data networks in long-term strategic planning and support processes for research infrastructure.

Building successful networks

Recommendation 5
In establishing, developing, operating, and supporting international data networks the following “organisational” aspects should be taken into account :

  • Networks should have a clearly defined user and data provider community. At the same time potential requirements of new users, e.g. in terms of interoperability, should not be ignored.
  • Networks should have a clear understanding of how they relate to other networks and how they fit into the global research and data sharing landscape

Funding and long term sustainability

Recommendation 6
Funders and host institutionsshould view internationally co-ordinated data networks as a long-term strategic investment and support them and engage with them accordingly.

Recommendation 7
Networks should have clear business models, including value propositions and measures of success that are relevant to their different stakeholders and these measures should be monitored.

Recommendation 8
Funders should actively participate in relevant international discussions and forums to improve long-term functioning,support and co- ordination of data networks.