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The FAIR data principles

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What is FAIR data?

The FAIR Data Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) were drafted at a Lorentz Center workshop in Leiden in the Netherlands in 2015.

The principles have since received worldwide recognition by various organisations including FORCE11, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the European Commission as a useful framework for thinking about sharing data in a way that will enable maximum use and reuse.

The principles are useful because they:

  • support knowledge discovery and innovation
  • support data and knowledge integration
  • promote sharing and reuse of data
  • are discipline independent and allow for differences in disciplines
  • move beyond high level guidance, containing detailed advice on activities that can be undertaken to make data more FAIR
  • help data and metadata to be ‘machine readable’, supporting new discoveries through the harvest and analysis of multiple datasets.

Why make your data FAIR?

Making research data more FAIR will provide a range of benefits to researchers, research communities, research infrastructure facilities and research organisations alike, including:

  • gaining maximum potential from data assets
  • increasing the visibility and citations of research
  • improving the reproducibility and reliability of research
  • staying aligned with international standards and approaches
  • attracting new partnerships with researchers, business, policy and broader communities
  • enabling new research questions to be answered
  • using new innovative research approaches and tools
  • achieving maximum impact from research.

How to make your data FAIR

Translating the FAIR principles in practice will be different for different disciplines, however the below guidelines set out the broad principles:

Use the ANDS-Nectar-RDS FAIR data self-assessment tool to assess the 'FAIRness' of a dataset, and determine how to enhance its FAIRness.

FAIR webinar series

ANDS held a FAIR data webinar series throughout August and September 2017, covering each of the four principles in turn. It included practical case studies from a range of disciplines, Australian and international perspectives, and resources to support the uptake of FAIR principles.

The slides and recordings from all events are now online to catch up or view again.

Enabling FAIR Data Project

The Australian Research Data Commons is a partner of the Enabling FAIR Data Project along with other data infrastructure providers, publishers and scientific data communities. Funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Project involves a coalition of groups representing the international Earth and space science community, convened by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), to develop standards that will connect researchers, publishers, and data repositories in the Earth, space, and environmental sciences to enable FAIR data on a large scale.

One of the significant outputs of the Enabling FAIR Data Project is a Commitment Statement in the Earth, Space and Environmental Sciences. The ARDC is a signatory of this Statement, along with many others who support the FAIR data values and goals outlined in the Statement.

Enabling FAIR Data FAQs have also been made available through the Project as a companion to the Commitment Statement and the Author Guidelines being implemented by publishers who are signatories.