Authors : Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra, Laurent Romary
There is a growing need to establish domain-or discipline-specific approaches to research data sharing workflows. A defining feature of data and data workflows in the arts and humanities domain is their dependence on cultural heritage sources hosted and curated in museums, libraries, galleries and archives.
A major difficulty when scholars interact with heritage data is that the nature of the cooperation between researchers and Cultural Heritage Institutions (henceforth CHIs) is often constrained by structural and legal challenges but even more by uncertainties as to the expectations of both parties.
The Heritage Data Reuse Charter aims to address these by designing a common environment that will enable all the relevant actors to work together to connect and improve access to heritage data and make transactions related to the scholarly use of cultural heritage data more visible and transparent.
As a first step, a wide range of stakeholders on the Cultural Heritage and research sector agreed upon a set of generic principles, summarized in the Mission Statement of the Charter, that can serve as a baseline governing the interactions between CHIs, researchers and data centres.
This was followed by a long and thorough validation process related to these principles through surveys 1 and workshops 2. As a second step, we now put forward a questionnaire template tool that helps researchers and CHIs to translate the 6 core principles into specific research project settings.
It contains questions about access to data, provenance information, preferred citation standards, hosting responsibilities etc. on the basis of which the parties can arrive at mutual reuse agreements that could serve as a starting point for a FAIR-by-construction data management, right from the project planning/application phase.
The questionnaire template and the resulting mutual agreements can be flexibly applied to projects of different scale and in platform-independent ways. Institutions can embed them into their own exchange protocols while researchers can add them to their Data Management Plans.
As such, they can show evidence for responsible and fair conduct of cultural heritage data, and fair (but also FAIR) research data management practices that are based on partnership with the holding institution.