The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) was formed on 1 July 2018. Presently, the ARDC is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity with Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC). ARDC engages with publicly funded research agencies, universities and eResearch capabilities to become members of the ARDC and contribute to strategic direction and priority definition. Current members can be viewed here.
ARDC brings to the eResearch sector over 10 years of experience on research data infrastructure and services. This is achieved by building on legacy initiatives of the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (Nectar) and the Research Data Services (RDS).
The organisation is defined by the following six principles:
The ARDC considers the needs of the entire Australian research sector and aims to build a robust data commons via strategic investment, coordination and partnership. A recent national consultation exercise highlighted the absence of a national scale, discipline agnostic data archive facility. Such a data archive was recognised as a distinct service concept to the widespread instances of data repositories, large-scale storage facilities and distributed cloud service architectures. Given the widespread need for a national scale data archive capability the ARDC is investigating possible service delivery models and architectures that could fulfil this service gap. ARDC is particularly interested in how such services are designed and implemented and made available via a federated and physically distributed community like our stakeholders and indeed the European research communities.
ARDC stakeholders vary in size, scope and data scale. We anticipate a data archive to scale to 20-100 petabytes over a 5-10 year period and provide services to 30-50 distinct organisational users. Any solution will need to operate a realistic business model with mature SOPs and SLAs. While presentation is a secondary concern to data preservation, a coherent and consistent view would expedite integration with other national and international infrastructures like Research Data Australia, DataCite, ORCiD, community data repositories, other internmational data commons movements and collaborative environments.
Small scale data archives exist in several disciplines and with varying degree of maturity. The involvement of the ARDC in this project seeks to further understand the possible models that can fulfil national scale capabilities that can evolve into a comprehensive solution or solutions. We anticipate a period of service definition and design 2020-2023 that would specify a distributed model that mixes commercial and localised provision.
The ARDC is building a minimal metadata requirement that specifies existing international schemas, e.g. DataCite MDS, but recognise a degree of extensibility is required for specific for defined communities.
Currently costs are recognised as real and necessary but are not yet defined. Our only requirement is that they are realistic and reflect predictable and efficient investment for benefit.
Benefits are recognised in different contexts, being: