Making Australia’s research data FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) supports knowledge discovery and innovation.

What is FAIR data?

The ‘FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship’ were published in 2016. The authors intended to provide guidelines to improve the Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse (FAIR) of digital assets. FAIR provides a useful framework for thinking about sharing data in a way that will enable maximum use and reuse.

The FAIR principles are designed to:

  • support knowledge discovery and innovation both by humans and machines
  • support data and knowledge integration
  • promote sharing and reuse of data
  • be applied across multiple disciplines and help data and metadata to be ‘machine readable’
  • support new discoveries through the harvest and analysis of multiple datasets and outputs.

However, translating the FAIR principles into practice will vary for each discipline.

Findable: This includes assigning a persistent identifier (like a DOI or Handle), having rich metadata to describe the data and making sure it is findable through disciplinary local or international discovery portals.

Accessible: This may include making the data open using a standardised protocol. However the data does not necessarily have to be open (such as sensitive data). Examples of sensitive data include privacy concerns, national security or commercial interests. When it’s not able to be open, there should be clarity and transparency around the conditions governing access and reuse.

Interoperable: This involves using community accepted languages, formats and vocabularies in the data and metadata. Metadata should reference and describe relationships to other data, metadata and information through using identifiers.

Reusable: Reusable data should maintain its initial richness. For example, it should not be diminished for the purpose of explaining the findings in one particular publication. It needs a clear machine readable licence and provenance information on how the data was formed. It should also have discipline-specific data and metadata standards to give it rich contextual information that will allow reuse.

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, 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
  • establishing new innovative research approaches and tools achieving maximum impact from research.

Use the ARDC’s FAIR data self-assessment tool to assess the ‘FAIRness’ of a dataset. You’ll even receive tips on how to enhance its FAIRness.

Take the FAIR test

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How the ARDC supports FAIR data

We support FAIR data in a number of ways, including supporting and driving a number of international and national initiatives as well as finding the right resources for our users to ensure they’re always using best practice methods within their research.

We’ve also created a series of recorded webinars on FAIR that explore each of the four FAIR principles in depth using practical case studies from a range of disciplines, Australian and international perspectives, and resources to support the uptake of FAIR principles.

Community resources

FAIR data training and resources

Access free online courses and training on FAIR data via our FAIR data training and resources.

Contact us

Get in touch with our team with any questions about FAIR data.


Related topics

FAIR Data training

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FAIR Principles

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