Research Data Management

ELIXIR Belgium provides services to facilitate researchers in making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable by design (FAIR). By engaging in discussions to shape standards and gathering best practices, we provide life sciences professionals essential information on research data management. Additionally, we develop tools to assist in putting in practice the recommendations and enable making data FAIR at all phases of the research project.


Activities in Research Data Management


Flemish Open Science Board 

We are strongly involved in the development of the Flemish Open Science Board (FOSB), an initiative encompassing all research institutes in Flanders to help advance Open Science. Members of ELIXIR Belgium contribute to the Flemish Data Architecture plan (originally developed by our Head of Node), the Flemish Research Data Management network (FRDN), and task forces on Minimal Flemish Data Management Plan, National portal for research funded by public fundings and Training.


Data Management Plans 

We collaborate with Belgian stakeholders to provide guidance on the use and further developments of Data Management Plans (DMPs). We focus on unifying the questions from different funders and aim towards machine actionable DMPs. Aligning questions from various DMP templates will simplify the process of completing DMPs for researchers and increase the semantic interoperability among funders’ templates. Machine actionability will make DMPs more powerful towards planning and reporting, for instance to monitor data storage, metadata collection, data availability and related costs. This work is done in collaboration with the DMPBelgium Consortium, Belnet and Data Stewardship Wizard (ELIXIR CZ).


Services for Research Data Management


Best practices and guidelines

As a partner in the ELIXIR-CONVERGE project, we are co-leading the development of RDMkit which offers a wealth of information on research data management resources and tools to the European community. In a complementary effort, we developed the RDM Guide, which contains information tailored towards researchers in Belgium and their collaborators.


(Meta)data management platform

DataHub is being developed as a converging place in which researchers can easily record metadata and connect it with their data and related tools or services. The platform is geared towards easing the burden of data management by allowing step-by-step and by default compliance with standards and best practices. As part of the development, we exchange knowledge and expertise with other European initiatives through the FAIRDOM group. 


Publication of data and workflows

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed tools to facilitate submission of viral sequences to the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA). These SARS-CoV-2 upload tools are targeted both towards researchers and clinicians as to other ELIXIR Nodes to integrate in their pipelines (in production in Estonia). Combining this with DataHub, we now have a proof of concept to collect metadata in DataHub and submit the data to ENA. We aim to implement similar approaches for the major deposition databases. 


To support reproducible data processing and analysis, we contribute to the development of WorkflowHub, a public registry where users can describe, store, share and publish their data analysis pipelines and workflows. The WorkflowHub is developed in the context of the EOSC-Life project and in collaboration with the FAIRDOM group.