Sharing FAIR Data on COVID research at Photon and Neutron Facilities

PaNOSC and ExPaNDS are taking part in this year’s 17th Research and Data Alliance (RDA) Plenary virtual meeting with a session on Sharing FAIR Data on COVID research at Photon and Neutron Facilities, to be held on 22 April, 2021, from 14:45 to 16:15 CEST.

Photon and Neutron (PaN) Facilities are making a significant contribution to the world-wide research effort into the causes and effects of the SARS-COVID-19 virus. The facilities’ high-resolution instruments have enabled detailed investigation of molecular structures and drug targets, infection pathways and pathological tissue changes by offering experimental techniques like x-ray crystallography, electron-microscopy and other highly advanced experimental methods.

Photon and Neutron facilities thus constitute one of the most significant engines driving experimental research into the virus.

In order to make this data available for researchers across institutions and also available for long-term studies, facilities data is managed, archived and published within the facilities data infrastructures, policies and processes, and facilities have been evolving these over the last 15 years.

The SARS-COVID-19 research has accentuated the need for this data sharing process to be responsive and comprehensive so that the research results can be made available and reusable to as widely and as quickly as possible, while respecting the intellectual contribution of researchers. Thus PaN facilities have been exploring how to enhance the support for FAIR data within their infrastructures; two recent initiatives which have activities which are dedicated to promoting FAIR data in facilities are the European PaNOSC and ExPaNDS projects, both within the European Open Science Cloud programme.

The RDA-COVID19 working groups have jointly issued recommendations on data sharing. Some of these recommendations directly address research involving PaN facilities in its primary analysis, while other recommendations form part of the wider environment in which that research sits.  In this session, we will discuss and explore those recommendations and how they affect the practise of the research supported by facilities and its future evolution to support FAIR data.

In this session we will:

  • Explore how use cases on COVID research within facilities’ science support FAIR data sharing.
  • Share the recommendations of the RDA-COVID19 Groups with the P&N community and discuss their application to P&N facility enabled research
  • Feedback from the PaN community on the recommendations of the RDA-COVID19 groups 

An outcome could be revised guidelines for PaN facilities on locating and sharing their data relevant to the SARS-COVID-19 epidemic.

Meeting agenda: 

Short talks with potential presenters (c. 10 minutes each):

  • FAIR data and facilities  – Brian Matthews (STFC), Abigail McBirnie (STFC), Frank Schluenzen (DESY), Andy Gotz (ESRF)
  • Recommendations of the RDA-COVID19 Group – Rob Hooft (DTL), Juan Bicarregui (STFC)
  • Examples of Data Sharing of COVID19 Research Data at PaN Facilities
    • Line Pouchard, Stuart Campbell (Brookhaven National Laboratory)
    • Graeme Winter (Diamond Light Source)
    • Gianluca Santoni (ESRF)
    • Nicholas Schwarz (Argonne National Laboratory)

Open Discussion on recommendations for sharing of COVID19 research data from PaN facilities.

Target Audience: 

  • Data managers and infrastructure providers within P&N Facilities
  • Researchers and data analysts within research communities undertaking COVID19 research
  • Data managers and infrastructure providers within life science communities.

Group chair serving as contact person: Brian Matthews

Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group: 

Research data needs of the Photon and Neutron Science community Interest Group (PaNSIG) focuses on data related issues of science applications associated with large scale source facilities, including: synchrotron x-ray sources, free-electron laser x-ray sources, reactor and spallation neutron sources, muon sources, large electron microscopes, NMR and high-powered laser facilities, which are used typically for investigations into the structure of matter at micro or nano scale.  

These facilities are characterised by a central facility providing access to scarce and specialised instruments which are typically beyond the means of single research groups, and are thus shared and used by many research teams to conduct experiments.  These experiments come from a wide range of disciplines including chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, biology, metallurgy, engineering, materials science, palaeontology and archaeology. The user communities are rather heterogeneous, volatile and globally distributed. Issues to be tackled are hence bound to be global and interdisciplinary requiring a decent level of standardization and interoperability.