Open Access and Community Engagement


2013 - established RDA Engagement Interest Group The group spearheaded the early effort within RDA to increase awareness and adoption of data sharing practices among the various scientific communities. Bringing together representatives from various domains and data management organizations, the group helped with community data collection and led the discussions on how to best facilitate community engagement within RDA.

2013 - pilot program to establish a fellowship to support engagement of students and early career professionals in RDA (find link to press release?)

2014 - collaboration with an early career fellow to examine the barriers and solutions to data sharing (poster)

2015-2016 - data stories initiative in collaboration with the Digital Curation Cenre (

2015 - Future Directions initiative, an RDA member survey to analyze strategic priorities

2015 - RDA/US Data Share early career program to support engagement of students and early career professionals in RDA

2015 - Metadata & Semantics Workshop, Indianapolis IN

RDA/US Early Career Program

The RDA/US Data Share program ( is designed to be cognizant of the needs and abilities of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and practitioners as well as of the priority areas within RDA. It grew out of a pilot program in 2013-2014 that supported 12 individuals to attend RDA plenaries. In 2015-2017 the program engaged 35 more skilled individuals from a variety of areas, including library and information science, computer science, neuroscience, and anthropology. The fellows brought their enthusiasm and projects to RDA and worked hard to advance research and practices in data management, analytics, and ethics. They contributed to creating and disseminating tools, standards, and recommendations in open science and helped to make RDA the successful dynamic and diverse organization as it is now. With help from RDA, most of the fellows who came as students, postdoctoral researchers, and beginning librarians and software developers, graduated to become professors, research scientists, and middle career professionals.

Fellow Vignettes

Dr. Anne Thessen received her Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and is the owner and founder of her own data management company, The Data Detektiv. As an RDA/US fellow, Anne focused on developing standards for reporting and sharing biodiversity information. Through her RDA fellowship, Anne formed relationships with new colleagues and got involved in several interest groups, one of which, “Metadata standards for attribution of physical and digital collections stewardship”, she currently chairs. In 2016 Anne was also appointed an RDA/US Data Share Ambassador, and she spreads the word about the fellowship and helps the fellows connect and engage at the RDA plenary meetings.

Dr. Sarah Ramdeen earned her doctorate in the field of Information and Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), and is now a Research Associate for the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Sarah has been heavily involved with RDA and co-chaired the Archives and Records Professionals for Research Data interest group. Sarah’s most recent success as part of RDA is having been elected alongside four other RDA members to RDA’s Technical Advisory Board (TAB).

Dr. Devan R. Donaldson is an Assistant Professor at Indiana University. He became a fellow during his first year as an Assistant Professor, taking advantage of every opportunity for early career development because the demands of tenure are tough. He benefited from mentoring, networking, and collaboration opportunities within RDA and received helpful feedback on his research. He also became involved in the WG RDA/CODATA Summer Schools in Data Science and Cloud Computing in the Developing World and brought some of the techniques from the school into his teaching. After his fellowship ended, Devan started and currently chairs an interest group on Early Career and Engagement.

Program Statistics