The FAIRsFAIR Competence Centre (D6.1: Overview of needs for competence centres, D6.2 Initial Core Competence Centre Structures) is a shared hub of expertise in implementing FAIR principles, offering leadership, coordination and services to connect relevant people, guidance, learning resources and curricula in different thematic areas. It serves as a nexus between the FAIRsFAIR project and research communities for a two-way communication, and a source of knowledge about how FAIR competences can be enhanced in ways relevant to their research data practices.
The operations of the FAIRsFAIR Competence Centre are expanding along the its three main roles: Advisory (including training resources and guidance links on FAIRdata Forum), Dissemination (community engagement and exchanges on the FAIRdata Forum), and Harmonisation (metadata interoperability).
Figure 1 - FAIRsFAIR Competence Centre roles: Advisory-Dissemination-Harmonisation
“Networking space to enable stakeholder collaborations and routing people to expertise in thematic areas”
A central question in establishing a virtual competence centre is “What form should it take and how can the function of the competence centre be delivered?”. Building on the concept that a competence centre is a shared hub of expertise that connects people and resources we have approached the practicality of creating a virtual competence centre through the development of an online space, the FAIRdata Forum.
The FAIRdata Forum (Fig.2) is a core component of the Competence Centre. This is the place where operations related to community engagement, support to knowledge/skill transfer through training is concretely materialised. In addition to the links to a host of training materials, the posts on the forum are envisaged to remain for the future as part of a body of knowledge, thus shaping the forum as an important pole in the Competence Centre advisory role.
Figure 2 - FAIRdata Forum: online space for networking and community engagement.
The FAIRsFAIR Competence Centre advisory role has also been met by working with communities in addressing the gap in skills, identified as a priority in Turning FAIR into Reality (Hill, T., 2019). The FAIRdata Forum has been used as a platform to support: training interventions for the data science community in Europe, in a concerted effort between FAIRsFAIR and CODATA-RDA; mapping data science programmes at universities; and integrating FAIR data skills into existing training offerings.
“Dissemination of training material and courses; enable sharing of best practices.”
Dissemination constitutes the second main role of FAIRsFAIR Competence Centre. It has been materialised through activities on the FAIRdata Forum (collection of posts and exchanges) but also, by the provision of training material. Both are developing into becoming parts of building up the Competence Centre’s body of knowledge.
“To consistently describe resources relating to FAIR data stewardship; provide leadership in harmonisation of policies, tools and resource”
One of the aims of the FAIRsFAIR Competence Centre is to collaborate with communities on training materials and contribute to developing standards for describing these.
With this end in mind, the competence centre is looking at the issues relating to making our training materials FAIR, and contributing to joint initiatives that address the problems of a fragmented landscape specifically addressing the core issues of classification and exposure of metadata as being the most challenging but highest priority to the interoperability of training resource catalogues.
Harmonisation of cataloguing standards and processes is one of the main aims of a Collaboration Agreement between FAIRsFAIR and the INFRAEOSC-5.