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Evolution of national research data infrastructure(s): The ARDC story

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posted on 2022-03-04, 01:07 authored by eRNZ AdmineRNZ Admin, Ian DuncanIan Duncan
The Australian Research Data Commons was created in 2019 through the amalgamation of the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), Research Data Services (RDS), and the National eResearch Collaborative Tools and Resources (Nectar) projects. These projects are all part of the Australian National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) which is currently in the process of roadmap development for the next 5 year period.

ARDC, with the mandate to provide Australian researchers with competitive advantage through data, is part of a rich Australian Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) ecosystem including research networks via AARNet, identity through the AAF, high performance computing in the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) and the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre as well as many local systems of various tier levels and differing focuses. Approaches to many components of DRI now need to deal with what has become business as usual; there is little research that is not eResearch. In addition there has been a growing recognition of the importance of a careful and considered approach to research data from within Universities, leading to one of our most representative projects yet, the Institutional Underpinnings program which includes 25 of Australia’s Universities as participants, or the Data Retention Project that pivots from direct investment in storage to operational data management.

The increased availability of robust equipment performing experiments themselves is driving an evolution of many researchers from data generation towards being primarily data analysts, creating shifts in the demand for resources and services provided by organisations such as ARDC. In addition, an increased emphasis on measurable impact, industry translation, and a clear line from research question to societal benefit is powering the ARDC’s migration away from broad portfolios of activities based on functionality (platforms and data) towards more coordinated and integrated ecosystems. We anticipate that by catering to the rapidly transforming and interlinked research worlds an enduring Australian Research Data Commons will emerge.

In all cases there is a requirement for reliable, robust, and agile underpinning compute and storage infrastructures allied with tools and practices that guide and enable efficient data retention. This talk will describe the drivers, discovery and demands which underpin these changes, the proposed models we are pursuing and how ARDC is evolving, with our DRI colleagues, to provide a simpler, more accessible, and more powerful digital research environment for Australia’s researchers.


Ian Duncan is Director, Outreach at the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC).


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