NFDI4Earth will develop, coordinate and operate a distributed, cross-institutional User Support Network (USN) for NFDI4Earth, based on the existing and well embedded user support structures of the participating institutions. Dillo and Doorn (2014) – for instance – presented a comparable concept for RDM in the Netherlands. The USN serves as a single point of contact for requests that could not be handled via OneStop4All and require individual consulting. Hence, the USN represents 2nd level support for NFDI4Earth. At the USN, real people interact with and help ESS researchers to find answers to questions related to all aspects of NFDI4Earth services (in collaboration with 2Interoperate), FAIR data and software tools. The USN approach covers the diversity of NFDI4Earth diversity by involving many scientific backgrounds. Here, wide methodological knowledge and experience of heterogeneous data sets from observation, experiment and simulation can be found. The USN coalesces RDM support, i.e. institutional RDM help desks from many different (infrastructure) providers. Providing user support is seen as a community effort, with the ambition to provide a high-quality support network (including data stewardship) for ESS researchers and to create incentives for participating user groups to share their experience to achieve further quality improvement. Largely, the project resources will be used for organising the distributed request flow through the network and orchestrating the USN along the actions defined below. Technically, the USN will operate on a ticketing system, provided by TU Dresden and triggered via OneStop4All and will use the Knowledge Hub, containing the Living Handbooks, as its long-term memory - adding and retrieving information.
Examples of tangible support actions to enable FAIR data user-interactions
As indicated by the examples above, support will encourage self-reflection regarding FAIR principles, i.e. is my own data FAIR and if not, what can I do, to achieve this? This part of the FAIR game is strongly associated with data curation, data quality (i.e. quality of description / metadata) and ingest procedures and options, since they provide the automated validation of appropriate data format and metadata description. Hence, to make comprehensive and long-tail data sets FAIRer and future-proof, and by doing so promote the cultural change towards FAIR and Open research data, a good understanding of data ingest procedures and options needs to be facilitated. Within 2Facilitate this is supported by the governmental perspective and data in long-term storage perspective – which includes curation. However, this also relates to many aspects of 2Interoperate and how metadata will be developed (ontologies, vocabulary, mapping, etc.) to allow for a sustainable use of curated data.
By combining the distributed RDM knowledge of experts in the USN in conjunction with the Knowledge Hub, the NFDI4Earth team will convey the notion (knowledge) of a best practice for dealing with data and how data can be made FAIRer and open (by acknowledging privacy and legal issues).