Arrangements for Technical Advisory Board

Where we discuss anything related to the RDA (catchall)

Moderators: Leif.Laaksonen, SaraPittonetGaiarin

Arrangements for Technical Advisory Board

Postby atreloar » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:03 am

Please use this topic to discuss the proposed structure and processes for the RDA Technical Advisory Board. The document is available at http://rd-alliance.org/s/TAB-Processes-v04.pdf
atreloar
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:39 pm

Re: Arrangements for Technical Advisory Board

Postby bethplale » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:28 am

This is in response to RDA member observation: "I am worried by some of the proposed WGs descriptions which are something like 'It's my tool / my research / my project' and it is beautiful/wonderful, not to say useful, and I want the RDA Seal of Approval on it." RDA case statements need to have broader impact than a single project, and need to have demonstrations of validity that go beyond a single project/platform. I propose that it be part of TAB practice to attend early group meetings and comment on the forum to help guide productive discussion and successful case statements. beth
bethplale
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:29 pm

TAB proposal voting scheme

Postby bethplale » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:38 am

TAB proposal voting scheme:
Avoiding voting blocks: In the original vision of RDA as envisioned by the funders, care was taken to ensure that a voter block could not unduly influence an outcome. I see this voting scheme as being easily manipulated by large voting blocks and that is problematic because of the power TAB has to influence roadmap of RDA. Avoid favouring politically persuasive candidates over the technically astute: Asking highly technical people to make persuasive arguments in their own favour in large group settings belies the fact that highly technical people are often not the best politicians. Suggestion to avoid both issues: Suggest TAB or nominating committee do due diligence on nominees, including small-session interview with TAB members, and from that put forth a slate of candidates. This will ensure a high quality and diverse candidate pool and will give best qualified candidates endorsement so they don’t have to win on their political persuasive capabilities only. beth
bethplale
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:29 pm

Re: Arrangements for Technical Advisory Board

Postby JuanBicarregui » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:06 pm

I am reposting this under this topic as I originally put on Task Force Discussion by mistake. Juan.


Here are some thoughts intended to trigger discussion on the open questions in the current TAB Processes document (http://rd-alliance.org/s/TAB-Processes-v04.pdf)

"Question TB1: Should we have something under rights, about TAB members having a right to contribute to WG discussions?"
I didn’t hear any comments on this, but I think it is clear that this is one of the roles for TAB. There is already a point under Expectations which reads: “The Technical Advisory Board is expected to work with RDA Working Groups to promote adoption and effectiveness of their deliverables”. Is this enough or should we make the expectation more explicit?

“Question TM1: Should TAB members be able to also be WG chairs? Maybe for the sake of independence, WG Chairs should resign their WG chairmanship if elected to TAB?”
I heard views both ways on this. Please comment.

“Question TM2: Should we try for some sort of balanced representation in the TAB? If so, balanced according to what criteria?”
There was quite a bit of discussion on this – see below

“Question TM3: What should be the number of elected members of TAB? A smaller number makes it easier to achieve consensus but a larger number makes more expertise available. 12 is suggested as a possible number, with 6 being elected in the first round of elections and 6 more in a second round later.”
There seemed to be general agreement with the suggestion in the paper that 12 is a good number for elected members of TAB. But it is probably better to elect all 12 in the first round and introduce the staggering of replacement of half the TAB by some process later.

“Question EP1: What system of voting should be used? Single Vote first past the post, or STV, or other. One motivation might be to have a system which allows the membership to elect a regionally balanced TAB if they wish. For example, if each voter has number of votes, say equal to the number of places being elected, they are more likely to distribute these votes across regions.”
I heard some views in support of the system where each voter has a number of votes equal to the number of seats being elected.

Now back to Question TM2. This is difficult. I think the consensus was that technical expertise should be the main criterion, but that we should also try and achieve some balances in TAB. The question then becomes what factors should we try to balance for and how do we do it.

On what to balance for, the aim could be to make sure that the TAB has the breadth of expertise it needs so disciplinary expertise and technical expertise are two obvious candidates to try to balance. Also as RDA is a global organisation, it seems sensible to try to achieve some degree of balance across geographic regions. On the other hand, personal attributes like gender probably do not need to be balanced.

On how to achieve balance, it seem impossible to ensure that we have representation from every discipline, every technical area and every region, so a system of avoiding over representation in any one area, rather than an achieving minimum representation, may be easier to implement. For example, we could set rules like: no more than one third of the TAB should be from any one continent; or no more than one third of the TAB should be from the same discipline, and so on.

Then we would need a system to achieve this. Candidates would have to declare themselves to be from a particular region and discipline etc, and when the votes were in, the ordered list of top candidates would have to be filtered according to the rules.

All this is very complicated and it may well take some iteration to find the best approach. Please comment with your views or experiences from other organisations. Thank you.

Juan.
JuanBicarregui
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:58 pm

Re: Arrangements for Technical Advisory Board

Postby Jamie.Shiers » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:10 pm

Question TM3: What should be the number of elected members of TAB?

Is an even number a good idea for voting purposes? IMHO the absolute number depends to some extent on TM2.

(Personally I wouldn't loose a lot of sleep over this one. Starting with 6 (or 5, or 7) and seeing how things go would also be a possibility).

Question TM2: Should we try for some sort of balanced representation in the TAB?

IMHO the answer has to be YES, within reason. For example, if all members at anyone time happened to be from the same country, discipline, or whatever it could be considered unreasonable (and unbalanced). One technique is to have "electoral groups", i.e. maybe we should strive to have one representative from each main geographic area, make sure that key communities / disciplines are directly or indirectly represented etc. e.g. there could be representative from the EIROforum members (1 covering all - I mention this as it was raised at a meeting of the EIROforum IT heads in Brussels recently).

Question TM1: Should TAB members be able to also be WG chairs?

IMHO YES, but there should be some restrictions, e.g. they should not be able to vote on their own proposals - in some committees they even have to leave the room at some stages (to allow closed comment) but are allowed back to hear some softened version).

I would suggest leaving a finite time for comments (until end April 2013 seems generous) and then moving on in the "let's do it" spirit.

Cheers, Jamie
Jamie.Shiers
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:43 am

Re: Arrangements for Technical Advisory Board

Postby Jamie.Shiers » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:23 am

For completeness:

Question TB1: doesn't everyone have the "right" to contribute to WG discussions?

Cheers, Jamie
Jamie.Shiers
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:43 am

Re: Arrangements for Technical Advisory Board

Postby DonatellaCastelli » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:54 pm

Since I have not participated in the TAB conception, I may have misunderstood part of the goal of this Board and of the topics that are being discussed in this thread.

Below, I try to clarify my understanding before providing some comments so you can better understand them.

I interpret the discussion in this forum as organized in 3 logically consequents topics:
1. TAB members tasks specification
2. Definition of the set of criteria that have to be applied in performing the TAB members selection process. This process aims at identifying those candidates that can best accomplish the tasks indicated at point 1. (better if mediated by geographical balance)
3. Selection process specification.

TAB member tasks specification
By reading the section on TAB expectation and responsibilities my understanding is that TAB members should act as senior supervisors of the WGs, i.e. they should:
* understand what the WGs propose and report to the Council on the appropriateness of the WG goal and plans, and on the potential impact of the expected outcomes;
* within the scope of each WG objectives possibly suggest exploratory directions that fits the RDA mission (and maybe also suggest other experts that might be involved);
* follow the WG activities evolution;
* promote WG results.

Members selection criteria
Given the very broad (too broad for me) scope of RDA, I do not think that we will ever be able to have a Board that covers all the suggested WG topics. The mandatory requirement, for me, is that the selected people have a scientific and technical background acquired in working on data infrastructures and on data management contexts (including domain specific ones) where “specific tools, code, best practices, standards, etc.” have been developed. We also need committed people. Performing the tasks describe above requires time, it’s not certainly something that can be done by allocating one hour on the plane before an official meeting.
I do not think that the expertise and commitment can be judged from comments posted in the Forum.
I think that if want to be really global, there should be a balanced representation from continents. If this is the choice, 6 members means 2 members for continent, which are really too few. As you suggest we might start now with 6 and increase the number later when there will be more operational WGs.
I agree that TAB members should neither be WGs leaders nor members of the Council.
I expect that a TAB member can in principle also be a industrial representative if s/he meet the identified set of criteria.

Selection process specification
I completely agree with Beth that we should “avoid voting blocks” and “favouring politically persuasive candidates over the technically astute”. In my opinion “quality of the results” and “quality branding” are mandatory preconditions for RDA to become a successful initiative.
I personally do not believe in a completely bottom-up process since it is necessarily influenced by “political persuasive capabilities”. I am in favor, as Beth suggests, “ to put forth a slate of candidates” selected by the RDA TAB initiators, or by some other RDA board, and then let the RDA members to vote among them.

As final consideration, only partially related to the above remarks, I think that RDA should better clarify the criteria for the acceptance of a WG. Before making an effort, the community should understand if the topic it is proposing fits or not the RDA acceptance criteria. I know that this is not simple, but I believe that progressively these criteria can be improved. For example, I imagine that you have now some lessons leaned from the selection of the initial set of WGs that you can use to refine the WG proposal acceptance criteria.
DonatellaCastelli
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:55 am

Re: Arrangements for Technical Advisory Board

Postby JuanBicarregui » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:24 am

Thanks for the helpful comments. I have taken them into account in the attached new version which has track changes on.

I have also filled in some more detail about how the balancing might be acheived. Some open questions are in comments in the document. In particular there is a question about which "dimensions" we should try to balance for, and which we do not need to balance. The main principle is explain in two paragraphs at the start of the section "TAB elections". These paragraphs are also copied below. Please comment on the suggestions and questions.

Juan.

"TAB members are chosen for their technical expertise so technical merit should be the major consideration in TAB member selection. On the other hand, the TAB needs to make decisions which are informed by a broad range of expertise, so there should not be over representation of any particular domain of expertise on the TAB. For example, it is desirable for the TAB to have a balance of disciplinary and technical expertise and to be broadly knowledgeable of initiatives in different geographic regions, although it is probably not necessary for the TAB to be balanced in respect of personal attributes such as gender, age or race.

"The TAB election process is designed to empower the membership to create these balances within TAB by making it clear which expertise the individual candidates would bring to the TAB and by using a voting scheme where each member has multiple votes so that they are more likely to include votes for a range of candidates with a balance of expertise. The process will also need a safeguard mechanism of quotas which is brought into play if the election would otherwise produce a particularly unbalanced TAB."
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
JuanBicarregui
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:58 pm

Re: Arrangements for Technical Advisory Board

Postby JuanBicarregui » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:29 am

Dear all,

There will be a TAB election process Task Force Video Conference on Friday 3th of May at 13:00 UK-time.

The meeting location is http://fm.ea-tel.eu/fm/f98bc1-33543

Please join us.

Juan.
JuanBicarregui
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:58 pm

Re: Arrangements for Technical Advisory Board

Postby wmichener » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:11 pm

With respect to the quote:

"TAB members are chosen for their technical expertise so technical merit should be the major consideration in TAB member selection. On the other hand, the TAB needs to make decisions which are informed by a broad range of expertise, so there should not be over representation of any particular domain of expertise on the TAB. For example, it is desirable for the TAB to have a balance of disciplinary and technical expertise and to be broadly knowledgeable of initiatives in different geographic regions, although it is probably not necessary for the TAB to be balanced in respect of personal attributes such as gender, age or race."

I fully support the notion that we need a broad range of disciplinary and technical expertise. However, I also feel very strongly that the TAB should be balanced to the extent possible with respect to gender, age, and race. If, for example, we were to end up with a TAB comprised solely of senior individuals of a specific gender and race, then I believe that we will be sending the unfortunate message that "RDA is not a broadly inclusive global body." Moreover, I have always found that committees and Boards are much more effective when a broad diversity of individuals are included in the committee's makeup.

I also think that the TAB needs to be comprised of individuals that are very good communicators and facilitators, meaning that they have the desire and skills necessary to work with proposers of case groups to proactively facilitate and streamline the process of case statement approval in a transparent fashion (i.e., good communication).

Given that the TAB can probably never include all relevant "deep expertise," I would argue for breadth of experience, Board diversity, and individuals that are good communicators/facilitators.

Bill Michener
wmichener
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:04 am

Next

Return to RDA Discussion Area

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron