Publication - Minutes

Research Data Scotland (RDS) Transition Board minutes: 26 October 2021

Published: 7 Dec 2021
Date of meeting: 26 Oct 2021

Minutes of the Research Data Scotland (RDS) Transition Board held on 26 October 2021.

7 Dec 2021
Research Data Scotland (RDS) Transition Board minutes: 26 October 2021

Attendees and apologies


  • Roger Halliday - Chair
  • Mark Parsons 
  • Alan Ferrier
  • Alessia Morris
  • Chris Dibben
  • Albert King
  • Nicola Kerr
  • Corri Black
  • Carole Morris
  • Angela Daly
  • Neil Rawlins – minute taker
  • Gyda Carmichael (presenting)
  • Martin Browne (presenting)
  • Lisa Whyte (observing)


  • Carol Sinclair
  • Pete Whitehouse
  • Jill Pell
  • Scott Heald
  • Emily Jefferson
  • David Crossman

Items and actions

Summary of actions arising

  • seek views and comments on Organisational Strategy document - RH

Welcome and introductions

It was confirmed the meeting was quorate. 

Previous minutes and actions and progress reports (paper 2A to 2L previously circulated and to note)

All outstanding actions are in hand and close to completion. No comments were received on the progress reports.

IG delivery plans

An update on IG Pathway One was given in conjunction with Paper 3/1 circulated previously. IG Pathway One is a programme of simplification of processes and the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) are very supportive of this. The work on Pathway One is nearly complete, the final piece, the overarching Data Sharing Agreement, is due for completion by mid-November.

An update on IG Pathway Two was given in conjunction with Paper 3/2 circulated previously. With regard to functional anonymization, recent draft ICO guidance seems to have picked up this concept and on stress testing. However the IG Pathway Two team is confident it can now proceed with this approach and will discuss this with data controllers. It was noted that Queens Counsel opinion had been sought on this matter in other UK jurisdictions and it was therefore felt that a judgement on this was not required.

RDS organisational strategy

The paper was summarised and questions invited. It was suggested another dimension, that of measuring the impact and demonstration of public benefit.


  • seek views and comments on Organisational Strategy document

RDS future governance

The paper contained the proposition that four groups covering Legal, Management, Data and IG Governance and Service Transformation would be formed and report to the RDS Board. Recruitment for Board members is underway and plan to meet in January 2022. Using panels / forums, both the public and users would be consulted and an advisory group of experts would be set up. There are to be no more RDS Transition Board meetings, however, the RDS Board may seek the views of the Transition Board members.

The question of how the RSH, a federated system, would feed into RDS was raised. There was also some discussion about the RSH level of input into the RDS governance structures. However, if there was a technical forum, the RSH could feed in through that channel. It was noted that RDS is keen for the RSH to take an active role within RDS. The question of where local level feedback would be delivered to was raised, as it was an opportunity for RDS to pick up on. RH agreed to reflect upon this. It was further noted that both Aberdeen and Glasgow universities were keen to join RDS and that further thinking about how federation within RDS would work was required, but could be picked up offline. 

RDS: integration with Analytical Work Bench

Gyda Carmichael provided a short slide presentation supporting the paper on RDS and integration with the Analytical Work Bench which had been circulated previously. The Board was asked if it was content with the next steps proposed and views sought. The Board offered its support to continue the work and a further paper is to be provided in December/January.

RDS Customer Service and Credits scheme 

Martin Browne provided a short introduction to the paper on RDS Customer Service and Credits Scheme circulated previously. Comments were invited on the model outlined within the paper. The premise of the paper is to divorce money and activity, as some research activities are funded and some are not, via a system of credits. It was proposed to undertake a pilot project between now and April to see if this approach works.

The concept of credits being used as incentives for outputs and adding data was well received as this does not currently happen. It was considered an interesting idea. It was noted that RDS may need a sanctions process to operate this process. The subject of finance raised a number of comments, principally around funding being gathered around projects, not universities, which could be complex, and the cash amounts were fixed, whilst researchers need to know the amount of money required to pay eDRIS or RDS and that would be hard to change. It was noted that the model should not hold up research and also for loss leading work it is difficult to find a funding mode, that is, not a customer based model. It was further noted that it should not de-incentivise pioneering work and that perhaps pioneer work not be included under the proposed credit system. It was suggested that it may be worth sounding out the opinions of senior executives at universities as part of ongoing consumer research. In summary it was advised that before a pilot study is undertaken further work should be undertaken on the organisation versus project funding aspect and how this might change the proposal.


It was noted that the UK Minister for Technology and the Digital Economy, Chris Philp, would be visiting EPCC during COP 26 and, if agreeable, RDS would potentially be discussed if agreeable. It was agreed.

RH thanked everyone for the last 18 months work on the Transition Board and that their insights and contributions would still be sought.