A few words on the FDO Forum

In October 2019 RDA GEDE invited a group of 28 experts to a meeting on “Moving Forward on Data Infrastructure Technology Convergence” which took place in the famous Observatoire de Paris. The goal of the meeting was to decide on a Joint Agreement on FAIR Digital Objects stating the requirements for FAIR Digital Objects and to agree on a governance structure to advance FAIR DO development. The workshop resulted in an agreement to establish an initiative to form an FDO community and to foster the FDO specification and implementation work. An initial specification of the FDO-Framework (FDOF) was agreed upon. In addition, two groups were formed: a coordination group and a technical group. Mainly due to the dynamics of the EOSC discussions and the high-priorities activities around Covid in 2020, this work got temporarily stuck, although further FDO activities were carried out in various projects.

At the end of 2020, two of the authors took the initiative to reactivate the community building process realising an increasingly fragmented situation. Experts involved in the Paris meeting and still active with FDO were invited to a meeting which confirmed the results of the Paris meeting:

  • The current FDOF specifications are still the basis of the specification work.
  • A Steering Committee (SC) was formed to restart the FDO activities.
  • A Technical Specification and Implementation Group (TSIG) was formed to restart the technical work on FDO specifications and to foster implementation work.
  • In addition, a few groups were initiated which will bring active people together working on specific FDO related work.
  • It was agreed that in the spring of 2022 a 1st International FDO Conference should be organised and that 2021 should be used to organise the FDO Forum and to organise workshops.

One of the major tasks of the SC will be to work out a lightweight governance structure to replace the current temporary leadership and to establish processes. One of the major tasks of TSIG will be to continue the FDOF specification work and to facilitate the establishment of an FDO supporting infrastructure that is available for every researcher.

As indicated in the figure below, the FDO Forum currently exists of the FDO community, the temporary Steering Committee, the Technical Specification & Implementation Group (TSIG) and a set of initial working groups which will have varying durations. All of these groups will have co-chairs to organise the work. TSIG has the special task to drive the FDOF specification work. 

There will be a special relation to the RDA DFIG group which will now also focus on FDO related activities. While RDA DFIG is an excellent platform to engage many interested persons in discussing FDO activities and specifications, the FDO Forum is meant to take decisions about FDO specifications (protocols, registries, attributes, etc.) to be integrated into FDOF and about the required infrastructure. The FDO community at large will finally establish itself as “owners” of the FDOF specifications. Therefore, it is required that those experts that are actually working on FDO related projects will be active in the governance of the FDO Forum. A suggestion for a lightweight governance is expected to be worked out by June 2022 allowing processes to be put in place.

The FDO Forum welcomes new members to be added to the Forum and new Working Groups which are dedicated to work on specific aspects. Information about ongoing FDO related projects are welcome and may require extending SC and TSIG. 


A Steering Committee is currently formed by the following individuals