FAIR Data Podcast

Bringing conversations on FAIR data to the forefront

Making research data FAIR – findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable – is fundamentally changing the way research is conducted and shared. Through interviews with people involved with FAIR Data in various roles – thought leaders as well as less established but equally interesting innovators -- the FAIR Data Podcast provides a window into the latest trends and developments and what’s coming, and serves as a hopefully lively and entertaining resource for the growing FAIR Data Community of interest.

When & where to listen

Episodes are published every Wednesday at 8am PST/11am EST/4pm UTC/5pm CET.


Wind Cowles

Jul 27, 2022

This week, Rory is joined by Dr. Wind Cowles, Director of Research Data and Open Scholarship at Princeton University!

This exciting conversation starts with an enquiry about Wind's unique background and journey! Wind mentions her start as a researcher and how her PhD in cognitive science linguistics eventually lead to her position as a faculty member at the University of Florida, where she was able to better understand the needs, challenges and pressures associated with research. The topic turns towards mentorship and data services at Princeton naturally,  and Wind mentions the inception of the Princeton Research Data Service and how it all started to fit together through collaboration between departments.

Rory asks about the perspective on research computing and services at Princeton, and Wind goes on to mention the support in place for researchers to be able to carry out groundbreaking research, including stewardship initiatives and services. Dr. Cowles elaborates on the new Tiger Data project, which aims to put in a place a comprehensive system that provides scalable storage infrastructure, and mentions the wider goals, challenges, initial inspiration and collaboration involved within the project.

Rory and Wind get down to more intricate aspects including domain-specific needs, sorting of metadata and working with researchers to improve and refine the services provided at Princeton in order to better assist researchers in their workflows. Wind mentions the current state of the project, and some of the needs of the growing team including technical infrastructure that needs to be in place and elaborates on why she thinks this work is important to other institutions and the wider movement to refine and improve research data services across US institutions.

Check out the episode below for the full exciting conversation between Rory and Dr. Wind Cowles!

Rory - iRODS User Group Meeting 2022

Jul 20, 2022

This week we take a break from our regular programming to bring you a fresh perspective of the iRODS 2022 User Group Meeting which took place in Leuven, Belgium between July 5th and 8th!

Rory kicks off the discussion by sharing an anecdote regarding the beautiful location in Belgium where the iRODS User Group Meeting took place, before diving into some of the main take-aways from the meeting.

Getting into some of the sessions and themes that he found particularly interesting, Rory mentions the integration of iRODS with other systems, such as Globus, Galaxy and CyVerse, before moving on to projects involving sequencing and other omics data, which have blossomed  in such a remarkably short period of time.

Lastly, Rory shares his thoughts on the University of Maastricht's adoption and incorporation of the CEDAR metadata template generator into iRODS, before rounding off the discussion with some concluding thoughts!

Check out the iRODS website for more info on this open source data management software:


Andrew Treloar

Jul 13, 2022

This week, Rory is joined by Andrew Treloar, Director of Platforms and Software at the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC)!

Jumping right in, Rory brings up Andrew's talk at the IDCC on his paper which won the best paper award on the topic of reusability of research platforms! Andrew gives us a high level summary, breaking down the key points in an easily digestible fashion.

The focus shifts to the ARDC, and specifically Rory brings up the staggering amount of innovation at the Australian Research Data Commons! Andrew gives us a historical perspective on the ARDC, and goes on to talk about the support the ARDC receives from the Australian government, as well as the necessary engagement with universities to collaborate and improve research data infrastructure and services through particularly relevant and useful projects.

Zooming out of Andrew's insights and role at the ARDC, Rory asks Andrew about the events and motivations that led to his entry into the work of research data management. Andrew shares some of the insights gathered over the years and his interests in a field that continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

Rory and Andrew round off this fascinating discussion with a look at repositories and the likely state of increasingly necessary relationships between national bodies, universities and domain organizations in the next 5 years!

Annette Strauch-Davey

Jul 6, 2022

This week Rory joins Annette Strauch-Davey, Research Data Manager at the Hildesheim University Library!

Before getting into Annette's work, Rory brings up Annette's use of Welsh, German and English, and asks about her time in Wales, as well as the aspects of Welsh Culture and History that Annette found particularly appealing.

Annette talks about how her work at open air museums in Wales influenced the direction of her interests towards digital preservation and Research Data Management. Moving on, she describes her current role at the University Library at the University of Hildesheim, including the role of the RDMO data management plan and the Dataverse repository in the RDM environment at Hildesheim.

Rory asks about Annette's inspiring bottom up approach and Annette goes into her interactions with researchers at the University of Hildesheim and the role advocacy plays in those interactions.

To conclude this brilliant and interesting discussion, Rory and Annette discuss the trends and likely developments in Research Data Management emerging at German universities and libraries, as well as the activity occurring in research consortiums and at the institutional level!

Robin Rice

Jun 29, 2022

This week, Rory is joined by Robin Rice, Data Librarian and Head of Research Data Services at the University of Edinburgh!

In this episode, Robin shares her journey, and the events that inspired her eventual trans-Atlantic move to Scotland. She goes on to talk about how the research data management scene has evolved during her time at Edinburgh, and discusses strategies to cope with the continuous need for evolution in the field.

Rory mentions the fascinating grass roots movements blossoming at the University of Edinburgh, and the discussion turns towards how Research Data Support Services collaborate and connect with young researchers to support their activities. Robin goes on to talk about the relationship between good research data infrastructure and management; defining how FAIR initiatives fit in with the efforts of her team.

As talk turns to the efforts and initiatives employed globally, Robin and Rory finish off this fascinating discussion with a look at how the approach employed by the University of Edinburgh compares and contrasts with those seen in North America, Europe and elsewhere!

Martin Donnelly

Jun 22, 2022

This week Rory joins Martin Donnelly, currently serving as Manager, Funder Relations (Open Science) at the Royal Society of Chemistry!

Martin has authored a book chapter on data management planning (in Pryor (ed.) (2012) Managing Research Data, London:Facet), and was co-author of the DCC's original Checklist for a Data Management Plan. He also designed and project managed the first iterations of the DCC's DMPonline tool, and was a founder member of of the US DMPTool consortium.

In this episode, Martin and Rory discuss the DCC, and Martin's involvement as well as the DCC's inception and how it shifted into curation and management. Rory and Martin discuss the importance of proper training and advocacy, and Martin goes into his approach on promoting good data management.

Martin and Rory also discuss the DCC's DMPonline tool, it's inception, and relevancy in today's data driven research practices. Rory enquires about the publisher's point of view and Martin explains how DMPonline and similar tools fit into the workflow process of publishing. To round off this fascinating discussion, Martin and Rory turn to both the past and future, for a comprehensive look at the developments that have revolutionised research data management and what's next in this exciting field!

Kazu Yamaji

Jun 15, 2022

This week, Rory joins Kazu Yamaji, Professor at the National Institute of Informatics in Japan.

Kazu Yamaji speaks about his background and how he received his Ph.D. degree in Systems and Information Engineering from the Toyohashi University of Technology, Japan, in 2000. From working on the human pupillary reflex initially, Professor Yamaji describes his journey towards his current role and primary research interests include modelling and developing trusted e-science space in order to share and reuse research materials.

Currently Kazu Yamaji serves as the director of a research center for open science and data platforms at the National Institute of Informatics (NII), Japan. Moving to the topic of the NII, Kazu breaks down the components of the NII Research Data Cloud: The repositories, Publication platform, Discovery platform and Research Data Management Platform.

On the topic of the initial inspiration and inception of the project, Kazu shares how institutional repository activity kicked off in Japan, and developments over the years which contributed to the demands for greater access, leading to initiatives with a focus on providing more scalable solutions and the eventual creation of the components which make up the NII Research Data Cloud.

Join Rory and Kazu for the rest of the conversation, spanning the dynamic and evolving nature of the NII Research Data Cloud, RDM in Australia and Europe, the development of National Research Infrastructure, and more!

Allyson Lister

Jun 8, 2022

This week Allyson Lister, Content and Community Coordinator for FAIRsharing at the University of Oxford, joins Rory for an exciting discussion spanning her role, work on ontologies and semantic data, as well as a world first announcement! More on that in the episode!

This week, the RDA / EOSC Future Domain Ambassadors program goes Live!

In today's episode, Allyson describes her journey and how she got involved in her unique field, and shares some of the motivations and inclinations that led her to pursue her research interests. Rory mentions the Oxford E-Research Centre, and Allyson delves into the focus, involvement and scope of the organisation. Allyson goes into some of the deeply interesting technologies employed, including use of Nvidia GPUs and AI.

Rory brings up the role of Data Stewards at the Oxford E-Research Centre, and Allyson goes on to mention TU Delft's invaluable work, as well as Esther Plomp, a previous guest on the show! Allyson gives us a crash course in semantic data and ontologies, and describes some of the work being done to improve sharing and make data more computationally accessible.

Rory asks about the use of ontologies in connection with research tools, and how to make the connection between them seamless and machine actionable, to better facilitate researcher workflow. Allyson shares some of the practices employed at FAIR Sharing and how ontologies are enabling interoperability, as well as diving into some of the tools and efforts to assist in FAIR assessment.

Allyson describes how her roles integrate and complement each other, and elaborates on FAIR Sharing, it's role and it's purpose, as well as how it fits in with the work conducted at the E-Research Centre. Core among these values is collaboration, and Allyson mentions work conducted in partnership with stakeholders such as GOFAIR, the RDA, and FORCE11. To round off this exciting discussion, Allyson describes some of the exciting work being done and the need to showcase curators and encourage the relationships that have developed in this blossoming field.

Rory Macneil: EORC

Jun 3, 2022

This week Rory takes the spotlight and shares his recent experience at the Edinburgh Open Research Conference with us! The EORC took place on the 27th of May, and featured guest speakers, presenters, experts and university staff with an interest and involvement in FAIR data and Open Science.

Mary Ellen Sloane

May 25, 2022

This week, Rory is joined by Mary Ellen Sloane, who serves as science librarian and associate professor at the Middle Tennessee State University. Mary shares insights from her various roles in libraries over the course of her career, from public services and technology to collection and circulation.

"I saw how much research was changing and how data was going to change libraries and research itself"

Mary and Rory discuss the changes in research and information sharing and their impact on institutions and libraries, with a focus on how librarians provide services to benefit researchers in light of a continuously expanding and changing landscape featuring a diverse ecosystem of tools. In addition, Mary goes on to discuss her incredibly exciting Fullbright project in collaboration with the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda!

Over the course of this project, we'll strive to provide a unique view into the work Mary is carrying out, check out the episode to learn more and stay tuned for further developments!

Kristin Briney

May 18, 2022

This week, Rory joins Dr. Kristin Briney, who serves as Biology and Biological Engineering Librarian at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Kristin is especially passionate and exceptionally placed to share insights from her career and current work. Aside from being an author and Open Science advocate, Kristin is involved in the effort to optimise research data management from an institutional perspective.

In this conversation Kristin comments on her thoughts on RDM, and how it has evolved over time. Kristin brings up the interesting notion of the 'selfish data scientist', an individual with a motivation to make their data FAIR compliant in an effort to make it easier for themselves to find, access and use it effectively. Rory and Kristin go on to discuss some of the challenges, issues and opportunities associated with institutional data management and the role that domain specific repositories play. Kristin has a lot to share from her essential role in helping researchers to meet their data needs, head over to the episode to find out more!

Shawn Ross (EP 2)

May 11, 2022

We are so excited to welcome Shawn back for another episode for a deeply interesting and current discussion regarding FAIMS and the state of field data collection/management. Given that Shawn has already told us about his past, and how he got to where he is, this discussion launches straight into FAIMS, and its inception.

Shawn talks us through the incredibly valuable experience of his work and it's relation to the ideas and inspiration for FAIMS, as well as some of the key parts of the journey in developing a state-of-the-art, multi-million dollar field data collection platform. As part of this journey, Shawn leads us through some of the intricacies and challenges associated with the development of FAIMS, as well as some of the approaches employed along the way, ranging from traditional academic style to venture start-up style tactics. Rory and Shawn go on to discuss further aspects such as the research papers and articles produced by Shawn's team, as well as considering further challenges and future directions for the project and sharing some interesting anecdotes!

This episode provides valuable and refreshing insight to the world of software development and field data collection; join Rory and Shawn for the full scoop!

Natasha Simons

May 4, 2022

Today's guest, Natasha Simons, is Associate Director, Data and Services, for the Australian Data Research Commons, where she collaborates with national and international organizations to solve key issues in an effort to improve research data infrastructure and policy.  Natasha is based at the University of Queenland, in Brisbane, and leads a geographically dispersed team who are passionate about enabling FAIR data (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) and driving a corresponding change in scholarly communication culture. In addition, Natasha is a member of the FORCE11 board, has co-authored a book, and presents regularly at conferences and events.

Natasha starts off with a general outline of the ARDC: it's objectives and various approaches employed in it's effort to support research. She goes on to explain how she got there in the first place, describing her fascinating journey so far, as well as commenting on her current work and role at the ARDC. Rory mentions CSIRO and AARNET, and the talk turns towards collaboration, both on the national and international level.

Moving on, Natasha and Rory dive into the topic of Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) and get creative!

Join us for the rest of the conversation, including novel ideas regarding PIDs, Natasha's involvement at FORCE11 and more!

Esther Plomp

Apr 27, 2022

This week Rory joins Esther Plomp! With a PhD studying the unique isotopic composition of human teeth and the story they tell, and an incredibly active involvement both outside and inside the university when it comes to Data management, Esther is perfectly placed to discuss some of the topics at the forefront of Open Science.

In this conversation, Esther and Rory talk about how Esther first got involved with data management, her involvement in various spheres and organisations that aim to promote FAIR data handling, before moving on to more complex issues, such as the divide between Researchers and Research Staff, and the issues it causes when considering different stakeholders, perspectives and motivations of those involved.

Esther goes on to comment on a possible solution: if the divide really is the issue, we need more people who blur the lines. With a perspective of life both as a researcher and a data steward, Esther comments on how individuals that embody and encourage both aspects may be crucial in building the connections that break down the boundaries holding back the transformation of research to incorporate FAIR principles.

Laura Klinkhamer and Niamh MacSweeney

Apr 20, 2022

This week Rory is joined by two guests! Laura Klinkhamer and Niamh MacSweeney are third year PhD students at the University of Edinburgh, and co-founders of 'Edinburgh ReproducibiliTEA', a grassroots journal club initiative that helps researchers create local Open Science journal clubs at their universities to discuss diverse issues, papers and ideas about improving science, reproducibility and the Open Science movement. Since its inception in early 2018, ReproducibiliTEA has grown to become a worldwide organisation with chapters in 25 different countries at over 106 institutions!

We're excited to dive into how Laura and Niamh got started with their journey into practicing Open Science advocacy and FAIR data principles. Rory, Laura and Niamh discuss factors such as job security which may influence the uptake and practice of Open Science principles as well as the socioeconomic impact of open research policy implementation. The issue of access and institutional support for researchers are interesting topics that arose during this conversation. Laura and Niamh provide some insight into what Open Research and Reproducibility implementation look like in the context of their work as PhD students and founders of 'Edinburgh ReproducibiliTEA', before giving us some exciting details on the 'Edinburgh Open Research Conference', taking place on 27th May 2022 (Link to register below!)


James Hetherington

Apr 13, 2022

This week, Rory joins James Hetherington, Director of the Advanced Research Computing Centre at University College London, where he leads us through his rich and varied experiences, from working as a particle physicist who wanted to work in the field, to transitioning to working with data and computational models in life sciences research, working with the creators of MATLAB, and calculating the environmental impact of industrial businesses. James talks about he was an early advocate of good software engineering practice in academic work, and how he's been working with the Alan Turing Institute to bolster their team of data scientists. With such a varied set of experiences, James has a lot to offer when it comes to discussion of FAIR data and it's application, and this conversation certainly moves on to touch on more complex topics such as the divide and connection between data management and researchers, the role of trust in research and data management, as well as touching on interesting developments regarding data stewardship, infrastructure development and academic research initiatives!

Ralitsa Madsen

Apr 6, 2022

This week Rory joins Dr. Ralitsa Madsen, a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow at UCL Cancer Institute with a PhD in Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease. Ralitsa shares how her development as a scientist lead to a curiosity and passion for open science and high quality data management, as well as offering some insight into her research in cancer and specifically, disease-related PI3K signalling. Moving on, Dr. Madsen expands on some of the challenges of data management and quality control in this domain, and comments on the critical nature of integrated solutions in data management. In addition, Ralitsa recommends 'Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions', by Richard Harris, and discusses some of the drivers of uptake when it comes to FAIR data management principles, and how local champions, institutions and researchers have critical roles to play when it comes to advancing quality data management. Rounding off this fascinating discussion, Rory and Ralitsa discuss some exciting future initiatives and opportunities when it comes to the FAIR-ification of Data!

Shawn Ross

Mar 30, 2022

Rory joins Shawn Ross, Director of Data Science and eResearch at Macquarie University and an Associate Professor of History and Archaeology, for a truly fascinating conversation that spans personal involvement in Data Science and the FAIMS project, Climate change and implications for field research, as well as a focused discussion on national institutions in Australia, including the ARDC, that are promoting FAIR data practices. Finally, Shawn and Rory discuss some of the challenges in translating FAIR initiatives from thought to reality, especially given the complex environment and players involved.

John Chodacki

Mar 23, 2022

This week Rory joins John Chodacki, who is responsible for overseeing the strategic planning, development, and operational management of the California Digital Library's (CDL) digital curation group, UC3. John has a background in product management within digital publishing and scholarly communications organisations, and is well placed to talk about FORCE11, FAIR data and representing CDL in the global research community.

In this episode, Rory and John discuss how he got involved in data, the role of altruism in the growing FAIR data movement and interesting ethical and governance issues. Finally, they conclude with thoughts on the future of FAIR data, as well as challenges and exciting opportunities to come!

Dr. Sara El-Gebali

Mar 16, 2022

This week Rory is joined by Dr. Sara El-Gebali, who is a Research Data Manager, scientist, feminist and founder of FAIRpoints and OpenCider, as they discuss how a PhD in cancer research and work at EMBL-EBI led to a passion for Open Science and FAIR data!

Sara talks about the origin of FAIRpoints as well as how the work carried out at SciLifeLab, FAIRpoints and other community initiatives is advancing Open Science!

Sarah Jones

Mar 9, 2022

This week: Sarah Jones, EOSC Engagement Manager at GEANT, joins Rory to discuss GEANT's involvement in FAIR and the European Open Science Cloud.

Rory and Sarah continue to discuss how a data commons of interoperable research tools can enhance FAIR!

Sarah sheds light on her own journey in developing an RDM tool - DMPOnline - and transitioning to a broader policy role at GEANT.

Bruce Maas

Mar 2, 2022

This week, Rory meets with Bruce Maas, CIO Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin (UoW), for a brilliant discussion.

Bruce shares key insights including how innovations in Research Computing paved the way for the development of research services.

In addition, Rory and Bruce discuss innovation in higher education research infrastructure, and the central role of empathy in engaging researchers in research services.

Key themes: Research Computing, Higher Education, Research Infrastructure

Chris Erdmann

Feb 23, 2022

We are so excited to share this conversation with Chris Erdmann!

Chris is an author, researcher and developer, with a passion for data services, digital libraries and all things FAIR. In fact, Chris is currently the Assistant Director of Data Stewardship at the American Geophysical Union!

Join us, as we converse FAIR data, what it means to Chris, and gain some insight from his unique role in the FAIR Data-verse!

Julie Goldman

Feb 16, 2022

In our inaugural episode Rory is joined by Julie Goldman, who serves as the Countway Research Data Services Librarian for the Harvard Library Research Data Management Program. From the ongoing development of research data management at Harvard medical school to JeSLIB (The Journal of eScience Librarianship), join Rory and Julie as they discuss all things FAIR - Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.

Launch Announcement

Feb 15, 2022

We're so excited to be launching the FAIR data podcast on Wednesday 16th February! Here's a quick word on what you can expect.