Research data management offered by NFDI4Phys targets research groups of all sizes working with heterogeneous data types in disciplinary and transdisciplinary physics. The two overarching concepts behind our research data management are FAIR Digital Objects (FDOs) and the physics of emergence which – based on hierarchical order – embeds all scientific fields of study across scales beginning with atoms and molecules, through macromolecules and plasmas, condensed matter and cells, tissues and organs, single autonomous organisms, reaching the level of collectives such as groups of organisms, populations, states, and world society.
FDOs are the electronic equivalent of a thing in the real world. What TCP/IP has been for the communication network, FDOs will be for the data network. FDOs are an international standard which is currently under development. It recognizes the two conceptual varieties, digital objects (DO) & linked data (LD), implementing the need for cross walks, see FDO Forum for details. NFDI4Phys has adopted that standard, takes part in adapting it, and applies it as an overall principle to its Research Data Management as expressed in our domains and task areas .
Our balanced disciplinary and transdisciplinary agenda allow to observe the heterogeneous needs of our diverse Physics communities both within and outside the core Physics Domain. Physics has been experiencing transdisciplinary developments for at least three decades. Through cooperation with various fields Physics expands into other scientific disciplines which are not considered to be its traditional domain. Such developments are visible not only in Biological Physics, which has already broadened the disciplinary canon of Physics, but also in newer domains such as Sociophysics or Econophysics.
The core idea of Transdisciplinary Physics is to understand the complex structures of a particular discipline within its respective special jargon in order to identify the relevant fields and their interdependencies which feeds directly into ontology building. We are not merely focused on an interdisciplinary application of Physics in other target disciplines: Our aim is to foster genuinely new Physics transgressing disciplinary and scientific borders via an integrated research data management. These developments can be already observed in Cognitive Science, Neurobiology, and Systems Biology, as well as in such disciplines as Psychology and Philosophy of Law. We aim to carve structural analogies out of the data creating the premises of an integrative research data management. We are building a bridge between disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary concepts in terms of experiment, simulation, application and theory.
Pivotal for this endeavor is an information theoretic characterization of complexity. There is more complex information than measured by Shannon entropy as has been documented in a surge of activity in the area of complexity measures. At the same time, the rich opportunities of the semantic web have been explored. We are providing a common data platform for traditional and semantic physics. We will engage in a general discussion about the function of information across the hierarchical levels of nature. NFDI4Phys creates and curates the necessary FAIR data and tools for all levels observed. Nevertheless, semantics is a discipline which still awaits to be discovered by Physics on a grand scale.
In addition to our focus on servicing small labs, we join forces with large excellence clusters to foster RDM. In particular, we will provide the base for the next quantum revolution by developing Q-RDM together with the quantum alliance for quantum computing. Here we observe another layer of information, this time in the quantum domain.
In summary, our universal concepts allow a creative feedback loop between RDM management on all scales and across levels with the Physics of these very levels. Physics and heterogeneous general RDM foster each other. The NFDI process creates and holds far reaching opportunities for all disciplines to truly collaborate in an unfolding semantic space and advance in an unprecedented way.