Turning FAIR into Reality

Final Report and Action Plan from the European Commission Expert Group on FAIR Data, 2018

Publié le 23 novembre 2018, par Thérèse Hameau

Executive summary

« In addressing the remit assigned, the FAIR Data Expert Group chose to take a holistic and systemic approach to describe the broad range of changes required to “turn FAIR data into reality”.2The notions of findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability - and the actions needed to enable them - are so deeply intertwined that it does not make sense to address them individually. Instead, this report focuses on actions needed in terms of research culture and technology to ensure data, code and other research outputs are made FAIR. Research culture and technology are two sides of one whole. Coordinated, simultaneous interventions are needed in each to enable FAIR in this broad sense.

The implementation of FAIR will be supported through the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)3. The federation of data infrastructure and application of standards will enable the discovery and interoperability of data. Member States should support this movement by aligning their policies and investments in relation to FAIR data and Open Science. In a wider global context, parallel initiatives such as the NIH Data Commons, the Australian Research Data Commons and also the proposed African Open Science Platform are important for the implementation of FAIR. Developments in the EOSC should align with these international movements and ensure that data are FAIR across disciplines and geographic boundaries beyond Europe.

The central sections of this Report focus on existing practice in certain fields to ascertain what can be learned from those research areas that have already developed standards, international agreements and infrastructure to enable FAIR. These examples have helped to define models for FAIR Digital Objects and the essential components of a FAIR ecosystem. Naturally the main building blocks in the ecosystem are technology-based services. However, the social aspects that drive the system and enable culture change – namely skills, metrics, incentives and sustainable investment – are also addressed.

The report makes a number of detailed recommendations and specifies actions for different stakeholder groups to enable the changes required. Implementing FAIR is a significant undertaking and requires changes in terms of research culture and infrastructure provision. These changes are important in the context of the EuropeanOpen Science Cloud and the direction for European Commission and MemberState policy, but go beyond that : FAIR requires global agreements to ensure the broadest interoperability and reusability of data - beyond disciplinary and geographic boundaries.

Twenty-seven recommendations are made, which are grouped into ‘Priority’ and ‘Supporting’ Recommendations. The fifteen priority recommendations should be considered the initial set of changes or steps to take in order to implement FAIR. The Supporting Recommendations may be considered as following on from the Priority Recommendations, adding specifics or further detail for implementation. Each individual Recommendation is followed by a set of Actions. Each Recommendation and each Action is numbered for unambiguous referencing. The full set of Recommendations and Actions are presented in the FAIR Action Plan at the end of this report.

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Le rapport