The FAIR principles is a concept aiming to make scientific research more accessible and useful.
Whar is FAIR?
FAIR is an acronym for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reuseable. FAIR consists of 15 international principles which together should contribute to the reuse of research results such as research data and articles. The information must be readable by both machine and human, and research results must be openly available, searchable and have information on how they can be used.
In Sweden, all publicly funded research must meet the FAIR principles to the highest possible extent. Today, the principles are mainly used in research data, but is also increasingly used in publications.
FAIR Principles (GO FAIR)
FAIR research data (The Swedish Research Council)
FAIR in practice
There are some issues to consider when working with the FAIR principles
The first part of FAIR is that the information must be searchable (findable). One way to make it easier is to use so-called permanent indicators (PID). This applies to both the publications themselves and the data as well as researchers or authors. The PID makes it easier to find publications and researchers as they are persistent,
Examples of PIDs:
- Digital Object Finder (DOI) common to articles and data.
- The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is used to identify journals
- The Internal Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique identifier for books, reports, theses and other monographs
- Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID) for researchers and authors
Metadata is structured information about the collected data material. This information describes the material on several levels, e.g. where and by whom it was created; on which occasions and with which methods the data were collected. Metadata is not the same as documentation; what signifies metadata is that they are structured in a way that makes them readable by both humans and computers. The more information, the better searchability. A generous metadata description about your publication or data makes the data easier to find. Remember to include the PIDs in the information. and make sure your metadata and other material are available in a database or repository.
Accessibility is the second area of FAIR and this means that research results must be easy to access. A link, for example a PID, is often the easiest way to access material. .
Although you may not be able to share the research result or research data in full, you can describe it. Sometimes, for example, personal data prevents the data from being shared publicly. However, it is always possible to write a clear description of the data and its conditions (metadata),
When the different parts of the research are interoperable they work together with other data and information, different programs or other processes which is important in order to achieve searchability as well as accessibility.
The cooperation and integration between different components should not require special solutions, but it is important to use standardized and accepted forms regarding such as metadata descriptions and persistent links.
To be able to reuse research in different ways is important for future access to the data sets. A rich and nuanced description of what is to be preserved and reused is vital. Likewise, it is important that the metadata and research material is structured and follows recommendations and standards.
Legal information regarding e.g. copyright and licences is important to clarify future stakeholders' use of different parts of the research, Usually, the publications and data sets is given a Creative Commons license. Please contact University West's Data Access Unit (DAU) if you have any questions regarding rights.