RSpace Blog

March 6, 2024

Transitioning RSpace to Open-Source: Building a Community for a Journey Towards More Open Science and FAIR Data

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Hey there, fellow research data enthusiasts! We are the team behind Research Space, and we want to give you some more information on our transition of the research data management platform RSpace into an open-source project in Q2 2024. We could not be more thrilled about this new chapter in our journey towards fostering open science and promoting FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data. In this post, we want to share our general approach on building an impactful contributor community around RSpace. This is our first time embarking on an open-source journey at this scale, so please bear with us as we take one step at a time to create an open community, provide various ways to contribute, and continuously improve how we work together.

Our Community Vision

As a team, we see interoperability with research tools and services as one of our main objectives to enable impactful research data workflows and firmly believe in the power of collaboration, diversity, and inclusivity to achieve this goal. From our own experience in working closely with community-led organizations and our customers, we recognize that the collective expertise and creativity of researchers, developers, and data scientists worldwide can drive innovation and make research data management easier and more impactful for both researchers and research data managers. By transitioning RSpace into an open-source project, we are encouraging all of you to become active contributors. Whether you have coding skills, domain expertise, or fresh perspectives, we invite you to join us in extending the capabilities of RSpace and make it an even more powerful and versatile platform for creating and managing research data.

The Research Space team has an extensive track record of collaborating with diverse software and community projects to advance the interoperability of the RSpace platform. By openly sharing the entire RSpace codebase we are hoping to get to the next level of collaboration, allowing everyone to join effort to improve the RSpace platform, and move it in a direction that’s most beneficial to everyone.

- Matthias Kowalski, Lead Developer at Research Space

Contributing Code and Open Feedback

We understand that contributing code to an open-source project can be challenging, especially when it comes to understanding and navigating the underlying codebase of an already mature project. That is why, initially, we will limit code contributions to a core group of experienced contributors that work closely with the core team at Research Space on previously aligned on sub-projects. This way we can ensure proper onboarding and make sure contributors spend their time efficiently.

Besides code contributions we invite everyone to share constructive feedback with the project. If you encounter any bugs or have suggestions for improvement while using RSpace, we encourage you to share them with us as issues on the project page, which will be published soon. Your input will help us and the community to identify and address issues more effectively, making RSpace a more robust and user-friendly platform for everyone. Moreover, we’re planning to host regular open community calls with reports from the core team, that we encourage you to join in on.

We’re currently working on the open-source project page for RSpace on GitHub, where you will be able to learn more about our community rituals and how you can contribute. There, you will also find more specific details on our community guidelines and how to contribute as we get closer to the release date.

The integration of RSpace with Dataverse has demonstrated its effectiveness in facilitating the seamless flow of research data between a digital research tool and Dataverse repositories. As RSpace transitions into an open-source project, our aim is to foster collaboration within the Dataverse community, inviting members to explore possibilities for enhancing existing workflows or developing novel solutions that empower researchers in managing and sharing their research data.

- Phil Durbin, Software Developer at the Dataverse project

Onward to Open Science and More FAIR Data

The transition of RSpace into an open-source project is an exciting time for us as maintainers of RSpace and, we believe, a significant step towards fostering open science and promoting FAIR data. We are thrilled to embark on this journey with all of you. By joining forces, we can create a community of passionate contributors who will shape the future of research data management. We invite you to be a part of this exciting endeavor to continuously innovate and improve the way research data is managed, shared, and made accessible to all.

To stay on top and in touch with our open-source journey you can do the following:

- The Research Space team

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