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The FAIR Data Principles

Data management and sharing may be conducted in many ways. Researchers often try to hold on to older methods, which typically default to no data sharing or to a system in which they are willing to share if asked by data seekers. There may be good reasons for restricting data like this, but often it is due to time and effort constraints. The FAIR data principles were established to set minimum expectations for how data is shared, to eliminate the biggest obstacles to re-using data. Increasingly, DMPs are expected to conform to these principles.

Deliberately, the FAIR principles do not demand a specific technology for implementation. Instead, they can be fitted to a range of data management and publication choices.

To be (F)indable:

  • F1. (meta)data are assigned a globally unique and persistent identifier
  • F2. data are described with rich metadata (defined by R1 below)
  • F3. metadata clearly and explicitly include the identifier of the data it describes
  • F4. (meta)data are registered or indexed in a searchable resource

To be (A)ccessible:

  • A1. (meta)data are retrievable by their identifier using a standardized communications protocol
  • A1.1 the protocol is open, free, and universally implementable
  • A1.2 the protocol allows for an authentication and authorization procedure, where necessary
  • A2. metadata are accessible, even when the data are no longer available

To be (I)nteroperable:

  • I1. (meta)data use a formal, accessible, shared, and broadly applicable language for knowledge representation.
  • I2. (meta)data use vocabularies that follow FAIR principles
  • I3. (meta)data include qualified references to other (meta)data

To be (R)eusable:

  • R1. meta(data) are richly described with a plurality of accurate and relevant attributes
  • R1.1. (meta)data are released with a clear and accessible data usage license
  • R1.2. (meta)data are associated with detailed provenance
  • R1.3. (meta)data meet domain-relevant community standards

FAIR Principles are listed here under a CC4.0 International License by:

Wilkinson, M., Dumontier, M., Aalbersberg, I. et al. The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Sci Data 3, 160018 (2016). DOI: 10.1038/sdata.2016.18