Academia faces enormous challenges to realign publication and evaluation practices towards a sustainable, open, transparent, diverse, equitable, and inclusive way of conducting research. However, values, attitudes, behaviours, and habits are difficult to change. Furthermore, individuals and organisations do not act isolated but in different contexts - from local to international, from labs to academic societies, from early career researchers to university leadership. This makes cultural change very demanding. It is our mission to attempt it anyways.
NFDI4Earth FAIRness and Openness Commitment
The availability of user-friendly technical infrastructure, meaningful services as well as up-to-date educational opportunities are all important elements in NFDI4Earth for advancing cultural change in the ESS research community towards FAIR and Open research data management. However, for more comprehensive success, other specifically non-technical aspects need to be addressed. One key to motivating NFDI4Earth researchers and supporting staff for cultural change is to secure the support from all stakeholders, in particular at the level of institutional and organisational leadership.
To achieve this, an overarching statement, the NFDI4Earth FAIRness and Openness Commitment (the NFDI4Earth Commitment) will be developed and promoted as the common vision of NFDI4Earth. The NFDI4Earth Commitment can be endorsed by the institutions and organisations involved and related to NFDI4Earth, as well as signed by individual researchers.
The NFDI4Earth Commitment will create a sense of identity for all actors and becomes an instrument to demonstrate values as it provides commonly accepted and manifested documentation that the signatories adhere to best practices in ESS research data management.
A crucial collaboration partner for advancing cultural change in the ESS are academic societies and publishers. As a part of this measure, we will actively engage with these organisations on the topics of FAIRness and Openness in mission statements, policies, etc.
Reporting and exchanging experiences on cultural change towards FAIR and Open practices will demonstrate benefits of this change, but will also identify dead ends or critical paths. The work in this measure therefore includes engaging with community networks, for example ABC/J, Geo.X, DAM and Water Science Alliance, to address FAIR and Open practices in their work and integrate their education/dissemination capacities.
The activities will be carried out in close cooperation with the Specialized Information Service Geosciences (Fachinformationsdienst Geowissenschaften, FID GEO), which is located at GFZ Potsdam and Göttingen University. The FID GEO, in turn, closely collaborates with the associated FID Montan and FID Karten and thus ensures broad coverage.
Progress in cultural change towards FAIR and Open practices is also dependent on the broader research framework, on issues and incentives beyond individual disciplines. Therefore, it is crucial that NFDI4Earth is active in working with future NFDI-cross-cutting topic groups.
The team to foster cultural change also closely collaborates with related activities within the NFDI4Earth, such as the NFDI4Earth Label, and networks within NFDI4Earth, such as the NFDI4Earth Academy.
Incentives & Monitoring
For understanding the challenges and barriers for a transition to more FAIR and Open research data, it is important to better understand rewarding systems. Therefore, we investigate the current status and give recommendations on rewarding systems in the current ESS landscape but also map incentives beyond disciplinary borders, e.g., at institutions and research funding organisations.
To effectively evaluate and demonstrate the drive towards a cultural change, we introduce monitoring measures, such as community surveys, we collect success stories, and engage with the the stakeholder communities to discuss the impact of the NFDI4Earth commitment and related activities.
The NFDI4Earth Commitment will be drafted by a team from the NFDI4Earth and discussed within the NFDI4Earth organisation before a public commenting phase. We look forward to your input!
The activities for cultural change will be accompanied by a community survey - look out for more information in the NFDI4Earth Newsletter, our mailing lists, and on social media.