December Report – The Charter for the Common Fund Data Ecosystem Coordinating Center

The Common Fund DCCs have primarily operated in isolation from each other. There is a valuable opportunity to leverage the expertise found at the DCCs, increase engagement among the DCCs, and to develop and share best practices across this network. The CFDE Coordination Center has been established to help organize CFDE activities, engage with participating Common Fund programs, connect with the DCC user communities, support training, develop tools and standards, and provide technical expertise.

Over the coming year, the Common Fund Data Ecosystem Coordinating Center (CFDE-CC) will improve growth in use and reuse of CF program data by supporting DCCs that participate in the Common Fund Data Ecosystem. Building a new Common Fund Data Ecosystem would begin to address many of the challenges currently faced by the Common Fund DCCs, however it will require a great deal of technical and social work. The technical solutions needed to integrate data will depend on intelligent standards that are broadly agreed on by the ecosystem community, and communities themselves require a surprising amount of management and effort to sustain. DCC staff are the experts on their data, and well equipped to make these decisions, but lack the time and resources to take on these additional burdens. By taking on the much of the administrative burden of community management, while simultaneously providing resources for DCCs, the CFDE-CC hopes to reduce the barrier to entry for DCCs joining the ecosystem. The CFDE-CC will work to connect external users to CF data, identify unmet needs within CF programs, connect infrastructure experts across CF programs, and lower the user support burden for individual programs. The CFDE-CC also plans to support CF datasets across their entire lifecycle, from startup to spindown.

The CFDE-CC is also defining and measuring FAIR, to guide systematic improvement of Common Fund asset FAIRness. One of the CFDE-CC’s missions is to guide improvement of Common Fund asset FAIRness by providing consistent definitions, metrics, and reports across the CFDE. By applying the same objective measurements to each Program, we will establish an even playing field across all of the sites. This will incentivise sites to improve individually and learn from each other, and at the same time will lead to a more specific, consistent, and sophisticated set of FAIRness metrics for the CFDE. More importantly, the improvements to each site and across the ecosystem will enhance user abilities to find and make use of Common Fund data.

The charter of the CFDE-CC is to realize a vision of improved understanding and more rapid translation to cures from the Common Fund investment, by building an ecosystem that connects datasets and people across the Common Fund and beyond. We will start by making the existing data more findable, accessible, and reusable. Ultimately we hope to drive linkage across datasets by enabling researchers to interoperate between existing datasets, and do integrative analyses. We will tackle both the technical challenges involved in increasing data use and lowering collaboration barriers, and the social challenges around incentivizing cooperation and collaboration. Part of our mission will be to increase the sustainability of CFDE data over time by developing metrics and creating end-of-lifecycle approaches.