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SDSC’s Research Data Services to Host First U.S. GO FAIR Office

Newly Rebranded Division to Offer FAIR Data Consulting, Other Services

Published February 28, 2019

Research Data Services, the recently rebranded division of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego, will host the first GO FAIR office in the U.S. as part of the division’s role in the U.S. National Data Service (NDS) initiative.

GO (Global Open) FAIR is a ‘bottom up’ initiative aimed at implementing the FAIR principles to ensure that data is findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. GO FAIR’s main goal is to kick-start the development of a global data commons for research and innovation. With the new U.S. office, the nation joins the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Brazil in establishing country-level coordinating offices.

“Being able to find, access, and integrate scientific data is essential to advancing discovery across so many domains and to facilitating interdisciplinary research so we’re excited to be part of GO FAIR’s expansion into the U.S.,” said Christine Kirkpatrick, division director of SDSC’s Research Data Services (RDS) group, as well as executive director of the NDS. “We want to make sure that research data is born FAIR so it can be used by researchers and made machine-readable for machine learning and AI technologies, and to offer platforms that allow for reuse of data and reproducibility of research.”

The office will be hosted by SDSC and NDS, the latter organization founded by a consortium of like-minded people in academia, government, non-profit institutions, and infrastructure providers who are interested in creating evolving technologies that support the publication, discovery, and reuse of data.

“The values and goals of GO FAIR are complementary to the aims of NDS, while SDSC has a rich history of providing the latest in techniques and technologies for supporting data-driven discovery and research,” noted Kirkpatrick.

Along with other national and regional GO FAIR offices, the U.S.-based office will disseminate, support, and coordinate the decisions and activities related to the adoption of the GO FAIR data steward principles within the U.S. and its territories.  GO FAIR US will focus on all knowledge domains and the general goal of increasing FAIR data stewardship. 

As part of this initiative, SDSC’s RDS division will develop more GO FAIR services during this year, and will be quickly integrated based on uptake, according to Kirkpatrick. These may include a new suite of FAIR data consulting, including FAIR data stewardship plans, FAIR data end-point hosting, and the “FAIRification” of processes. These services and trainings will be offered through a public-private partnership with Phortos Consultants, led by Albert Mons, one of the authors on the seminal Nature article establishing the FAIR principles.

These services will evolve alongside the existing RDS Infrastructure services that include co-location, virtualized platforms, SDSC Cloud (private compute cloud), cloud consulting and integration, system administration consulting, and storage ranging from object storage on SDSC Cloud, to dedicated file systems, and Universal Scale Storage, a low-cost, native POSIX appliance for at-scale projects at more than 100 terabytes.

RDS will also offer a selection of new services during 2019 that include customized analysis platforms based on software co-developed by SDSC, such as the NDS Labs Workbench, Jupyter Hub implementations, and SDSC’s AWESOME (Analytical Workbench for Exploration of SOcial MEdia.) data analytics platform that has been used for social media and political science analyses.

All services being offered by the SDSC division are designed with researchers in mind and easily packaged for inclusion in grant applications and contracts. The services are organized around a centralized client relations and project management office for streamlined pre-award and consultation, onboarding, billing, and support.

Formerly known as IT Systems & Services, RDS recently changed its name to better reflect SDSC’s considerable expertise and investments in data science and its support of data-driven research. The change follows a trend during the past several years toward more data-driven, computationally-based research, while allowing the division to move away from offering IT services available from central campus IT or through commodity providers for basic IT infrastructures such as email systems, mailing lists, or SharePoint hosting.

The division is led by Kirkpatrick and Brian Balderston, Director of Infrastructure for the group.  For more details see SDSC Cyberinfrastructure Services or contact Ryan Nakashima, client services manager, at

About SDSC

As an Organized Research Unit of UC San Diego, SDSC is considered a leader in data-intensive computing and cyberinfrastructure, providing resources, services, and expertise to the national research community, including industry and academia. Cyberinfrastructure refers to an accessible, integrated network of computer-based resources and expertise, focused on accelerating scientific inquiry and discovery. SDSC supports hundreds of multidisciplinary programs spanning a wide variety of domains, from earth sciences and biology to astrophysics, bioinformatics, and health IT. SDSC’s petascale Comet supercomputer is a key resource within the National Science Foundation’s XSEDE (eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment) program.