Due to the complexity of data handling and the specificity of the various research domains, no consensus has yet been reached on the exact responsibilities and tasks of data stewards.
Their required knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) have also not formally been mapped and defined. This hampers adequate capacity building and complicates efficient data management. Both are also a necessity for open science implementation.
In the Netherlands, DTL, together with its partners and together with the community of practicing data stewards, has initiated work on a national level on defining the roles relevant for data stewardship. This work was funded by ZonMw and co-funded by the National Programme Open Sciences (NPOS) and ELIXIR-NL. One of the concrete outcomes is the development of the NPOS/ELIXIR Data Stewardship Competency Framework (published via the Competency Hub).
This framework was published in 2019 (report and matrices) and distinguishes three data steward roles (policy, research and infrastructure) and eight competence areas (policy/strategy, compliance, alignment with FAIR data principles, services, infrastructure, knowledge management, network, data archiving and transferable skills). For each of these three roles competencies, KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities) and learning outcomes (including Bloom’s level) are given. In 2021, the Framework was further developed in the context of NPOS (report), where the national roadmap to professionalizing data stewardship in the Netherlands was described.
In parallel to these efforts, DTL and its partners organize multiple training courses on data stewardship in the life sciences.