At the core of the consortium’s governance structure are simple and focused processes that endure and remain innovative over the long term. Bringing together solutions to problems in clearly structured process chains ensures the establishment and maintenance of sustainable community relationships through active engagement.
The seven Task Areas are the central operational units of N4O and are managed by the Co-Applicants. The Task Areas are oriented towards the scientific and infrastructural needs of the research community and cover these in their range over the entire funding period. The TRAILs (Task-Related Activity for Implementation and Launch of services), which practically implement parts of the working programme, are implemented in the Task Areas. Even before the application was submitted, there was a Call for TRAILs, and halfway through the funding period in 2025, existing TRAILs are evaluated and new ones can be submitted and recommended for funding. Thus, in addition to their content-related aspects, the TRAILs also have an important structural function: through the open format, they encourage new ideas and expand and diversify the N4O community. The first round has already shown that the format is particularly interesting for universities: 15 different German universities are participating in the first round of TRAILs.
The coordination office supports the N4O community administratively in the decision-making process and the organisational implementation of the work plan. To ensure a smooth interaction between the co-applicants, participants and the task areas, positions have been created in the task areas.
The General Assembly is the central decision-making body for the content and strategic direction of N4O. It consists of one delegate each from the participants, the co-applicants and the societies. Among other things, it votes new members or generally applicable N4O commons.
The Steering Committee is the executive body of N4O. It is chaired by the spokesperson and the co-spokespersons of the co-applicants are involved as additional members. The committee monitors and evaluates the progress of the work programme. It also determines the budget, scientific coordination, management and strategic planning of N4O.
The Advisory Board consists of ten external and established academics and will advise N4O on strategy and content as well as take a national and international perspective.
The needs analysis within the research community has shown that research data management (RDM) requires a restructuring of established subject boundaries. In order to bundle common interests in RDM, the Community Clusters (CCs) were founded. The CCs are made up of members of the N4O initiative, external specialists and other interested persons, regardless of their status at N4O. They meet regularly and document their work results and jointly write N4O commons. Because of their composition, the CCs are key to effectively addressing the challenges of RDM in the long term.
Temporary working groups
Temporary working groups (TWGs) work on specific and clearly defined tasks over a limited period of time at N4O. Theys are supposed to work out the standards and specifications and support the Task Areas (TAs) in their work.
All results developed by the N4O community are shared as N4O Commons in an online portal and thus made freely available to the research community. This includes guidelines, but also procedural documents and the description of standard workflows. In doing so, the N4O-Commons are a consensus on proposals, recommendations and standards of the community on good scientific practice, technical descriptions, open educational content and recommendations for the development of services. Thus, the N4O Commons provide a constantly updated access to the results of the consortium’s work and clearly articulate the needs of the community.
The N4O Commons thus provide a framework around the N4O service portfolio and the provision of FAIR data. The dynamics of the processes between provision, adaptation or development of the service portfolio and the simultaneous community elaboration of requirements and needs are thus organised in a simple, transparent and participatory way.
The NFDI4Objects Temporary Working Groups (TWGs) are the driving force behind the consortium’s continuous development of standards and specifications.
Organised by subject groups or research methods, the NFDI consortia pursue the goal of ensuring access to and sustainable use of the research data relevant to them.