Communication Comes From Community

To be able to improve what you are doing, it is essential to question the way you have been doing things. As DataCite’s outreach manager, this is what I have been through in the last couple of months. With the DataCite strategic plan 2022-2025 in place, it is important to update the way we communicate with our community. And ask ourselves who our community actually consists of.
Are we still addressing the right stakeholders with the right messages? Here is a short overview of what we have been doing, what we have achieved, and what we will do with it.

All Questions Allowed

It might seem strange to start from scratch when you have a communication plan and a stakeholder matrix in place, but this is what we did. The existing work was already several years old and with a quickly evolving community, it seemed timely. With a little help from a friend (ORCID’s Director of Product Tom Demeranville), we conducted interactive sessions with the DataCite Community Engagement Steering Group, the DataCite EMEA Expert Group, and the DataCite engagement team. We started by asking who the committees think our key stakeholders are, because in order to know how to communicate, we need to know who we are talking to. The result of the first session was a pool of stakeholders that was way larger than what we could have potentially come up with on our own. In a second round, the stakeholders were prioritized and grouped. The final step was to review the stakeholder groups from the engagement team perspective and create a stakeholder map that illustrates how we interact with our community. The involvement of both DataCite members and DataCite team members in this process was important, because it provided us with a more holistic picture of who our community is. The two visuals below illustrate DataCite and the relationship to the DataCite community.

A circular diagram showing the key stakeholder groups and the DataCite Community with three layers around the DataCite logo at the center. The first layer around the logo shows clockwise beginning at the top "Members", "Policy Makers", "Integrators", and "Collaborators". All of them are connected with a line to the DataCite logo. On the third layer "Repositories" is connected to "Members" as well as to the last layer of "Researchers" that encircles all other layers. "Policies" is right next to it, and also connected to "Repositories", "Policy Makers", and "Researchers". "Integrators" is connected to DataCite and "Researchers". "Collaborators" is connected to DataCite, "Researchers", and "Standards". "Standards" itself is connected to "Repositories"
DataCite community and key stakeholder groups

Strategy and plan

With the stakeholder map in place, we were able to finalize a new communication strategy that defines our approach to communication over the next three years, in line with the strategic plan. While our communication strategy addresses communication on a strategic level, the actual implementation of communication activities is dealt with in separate outreach plans. This way, the communication strategy serves as a point of reference for the different communication activities. As DataCite’s annual vision realizes the DataCite strategic plan, the DataCite annual outreach plan realizes the communication strategy. Separating the strategy from the plan(s) gives us the opportunity and flexibility to adapt the plan to future changes that may occur.

How the communication strategy is put into effect

What’s next?

The communication strategy will be complemented by the DataCite event strategy that DataCite’s new community manager Gabi Mejias is working on. Both strategies are put into practice with the DataCite outreach plan that is currently being developed. The outreach plan shall help streamline the coordination and organization of our communications (blog posts, newsletter, mailings) and events (meetings, webinars, Open Hours).

We are excited to put into practice what we have outlined on (digital) paper. At this point, we would like to thank all who contributed to the stakeholder mapping by providing valuable ideas and feedback. We make sure your input flows back to you in the form of great events and communication.