RCD Capabilities Model v2.0 Questions by Facing

This document includes the main text for the questions in each Facing, grouped by topic.[1] This is intended for use by institutions that are discussing who may contribute to an assessment using the Research Computing and Data (RCD) Capabilities Model, and want to share the type of questions that will be asked.

The RCD Capabilities Model is organized into sections that reflect different roles that staff fill in supporting Research Computing and Data, and are named to reflect who or what role is “facing” (i.e., focused on). Within each facing, the model poses questions about aspects of research computing and data for the associated role; the questions are grouped into Topics.

Larger organizations may have a team associated with each facing role, while smaller organizations may have just a few people who cover these different roles. In filling out the assessment tool, you will likely want to involve people who work in the different roles; they can work to fill out their respective section of the assessment.

Table 1 presents an introduction to the Facings, and links to the associated questions below.

Facing Area


Example roles

Facing Topics

Includes research computing and data staffing, outreach, and advanced support, as well as support in the management of the research lifecycle.

Research IT User Support, Research Facilitators, CI engineers[2], etc.

Data-Facing Topics

Includes data creation; data discovery and collection; data analysis and visualization; research data curation, storage, backup, and transfer; and research data policy compliance.

Research Data Management specialists, Data Librarians, Data Scientists, etc.

Software- Facing Topics

Includes software package management, research software development, research software optimization or troubleshooting, workflow engineering, containers and cloud computing, securing access to software, and software associated with physical specimens.

Research Software Engineers, Applications Specialist, Research Computing support, etc.

Systems- Facing Topics

Includes infrastructure systems, systems operations, and systems security and compliance.

HPC systems engineers, Storage Engineers, Network specialists, etc.

Strategy and Policy-Facing Topics

Includes institutional alignment, culture for research support, funding, and partnerships and engagement with external communities.

Research IT leadership: Director, Assistant/Associate Director, etc.

Table 1 - Description and examples for the Five Facings

[1]This is a supplement to the RCD Capabilities Model v2.0 Introduction and Guide to Use.

[2]“CI Engineers” have different roles at different institutions, and some might (also) be in the Systems Facing roles.

Researcher-Facing Topics and Associated Capabilities

Research Computing and Data Staffing

Research Computing and Data Outreach (Initial Contact)

Research Computing and Data Advanced Support

Research Computing Management of the Research Lifecycle

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Data-Facing Topics and Associated Capabilities

Data Creation

Data Discovery and Collection

Data Analysis

Data Visualization

Research Data Curation, Storage, Backup, and Transfer

Research Data Policy Compliance

Data Security/Sensitive Data Support

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Software-Facing Topics and Associated Capabilities

Software Package Management (installation, documentation, validation, and retirement/removal)

Research Software Development

Research Software Optimization or Troubleshooting

Workflow Engineering

Software Portability, Containers, and Cloud Computing

Securing Access to Software

Software Associated with Physical Specimens (e.g., samples, research / museum collections)

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Systems-Facing Topics and Associated Capabilities

Infrastructure Support

Compute Infrastructure

Storage Infrastructure

Network and Data Movement Infrastructure

Specialized Infrastructure

Infrastructure Software

Monitoring and Measurement

Change Mngmnt, version control, administration, and ticketing



Best security practices for open environments

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Strategy and Policy-Facing Topics and Associated Capabilities

Institutional Alignment (How policies and priorities are set)

Institutional Culture for Research Support


Partnerships / Engagement with External Communities

Professional Development of Research Computing and Data Staff

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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