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The FAIR Data Podcast

Welcome to the FAIR Data podcast landing page! Here you’ll find all our latest episode details and news!

Listen to the podcast:

The FAIR Data Podcast is available on Spotify, Apple and Google Podcasts! Just click one of the links below to start listening!


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What is the FAIR Data Podcast?

Making research data FAIR – findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable – has transitioned over the past couple of years from being a somewhat obscure initiative promoted by a small group of research data management professionals to a mantra and a movement driving policy and funding directions and decisions in countries around the world, and fundamentally impacting the development of research infrastructure and tools, and the ways in which research is conducted and supported. 

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. 


Episodes are published every Wednesday starting from February 16th 2022, at 8am PST/11am EST/4pm UTC/5pm CET.

#15- Mary Ellen Sloane – FAIR and Fullbright! (25.05.22)

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!

#14- Kristin Briney – FAIR at Caltech! (18.05.22)

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, so head on over to the episode to find out more!

#13- Shawn Ross – Developing FAIMS! (11.05.22)

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 it’s 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!

#12- Natasha Simons – Bridging the Gap! (04.05.22)

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!

#11- Esther Plomp – Bridging the Gap! (27.04.22)

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 OpenScience:

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.

#10 – Laura Klinkhamer & Niamh MacSweeney- ReproducibiliTEA! (20.04.22)

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!)

#9 – James Hetherington- Data in Academics (13.04.22)

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!

#8 – Ralitsa Madsen – Advancing FAIR in Cancer Research (06.04.22)

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. To conclude, Rory and Ralitsa discuss some exciting future initiatives and opportunities when it comes to the FAIR-ification of Data in research.

#7 – Shawn Ross – FAIR in Australia and FAIMS Project (30.03.22)

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.

#6 – John Chodacki – Altruism and FAIR (23.03.22)

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!

#5 – Dr. Sara El-Gebali – From PhD to RDM (16.03.22)

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!

#4 – Sarah Jones – GEANT leaps for FAIR (09.03.22)

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.

#3 – Bruce Maas – Paving the way for FAIR (02.03.22)

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

#2 – Chris Erdmann – FAIR to say he’s a star (23.02.22)

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!

#1 – Julie Goldman – Kicking off with FAIR at Harvard (10.02.21)

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.

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