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Ron Sandland, ANDS’ Steering Committee Chair

Ron Sandland

ANDS has, over its history, focused on working with institutions to improve the national capability in research data by enhancing the value of research data collections. Value can be interpreted in several ways – but ensuring that data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable is a pretty good start.

The National Research Infrastructure Roadmap has now been released. For research data at least, its findings are as we expected. Importantly, the Roadmap recommends that ANDS, RDS and Nectar should be integrated to create “an integrated data-intensive infrastructure system, incorporating physical infrastructure, policies, data, software, tools and support for researchers”.

This recommendation had its genesis in the Framework document prepared by Dr Rhys Francis and was refined through very substantial consultation with relevant stakeholders and careful analysis of the possible futures for research data infrastructure.

The Directors of the three capabilities have been working hard to explore significant synergies and form an aligned Business Plan for 2017/18 with a view to commencing work as an integrated entity in July 2018.

This essentially divides the new project into two phases – aligned activities up until the end of June 2018 and full integration beyond that.

The alignment process is directed towards achieving a transformational impact on Australia’s research data capability, as outlined in this edition of Share.

As well as the Directors, the Board chairs and lead agent representatives have been working closely together to ensure a continuation of appropriate governance and independent advice is being employed to structure the new entity once it is fully operational in July 2018.

I believe this process will lead to an exciting new era for Australia’s research data infrastructure with benefits that will extend internationally and to sectors like industry and government that have, up until now, been unable to share fully in the benefits of our national research data capability.