AIMS Newsletter no.70, January 2018

The Rationale for FAIR Open Research Data

Research activities provide unlimited amounts of data that could have an impact on achieving the objectives of a number of seamless research processes. With all the information and data available, it is important that your data are valuable and properly managed. By taking care of these matters at an early stage, your research will stand out and foster new promising integrative scientific approaches and studies.

In this context, FAIR Data Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) can help you create, share and re-use quality, valuable, and responsible data. Only by leveraging and applying the evidence about FAIR data impact we can help data live up to its long-term potential.

FAIR open data will be able to support both quality and smooth research workflow for the sciences and new discoveries and reproducibility of findings based on data interoperability, harvest and analysis of multiple datasets.

Addressing the challenge of interoperability of findable and accessible data is essential to unlocking the full potential of re-usable research data. Basically, interoperability requires the use of open shared standards (community agreements) to enable horizontal platforms to become communicable, operable, and programmable across services. This vision reflects the strategic directions recently provided by : COAR Next Generation Repositories (report, 2017), Knowledge Exchange “The evolving landscape of Federated Research Data Infrastructures(report, 2017), OECD Global Science Forum and CODATA Business Models for Sustainable Research Data Repositories” (report, 2017).

The good news is that more and more research organizations enable interoperability through open-source applications and common guidelines/recommendations/agreements. Nevertheless, the reality remains that data interoperability and re-use are still largely hampered by a technological framework with proprietary gates and by data silos.

To facilitate open data creation, integrations, interoperability, re-use, engagement and new knowledge discoveries, a well-known initiative European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) encourages all stakeholders to work together in an inclusive, transparent and accountable way on the implementation of a digital platform inspired by the FAIR principles, to uptake unprecedented insight of FAIR open data promises.


To address issues, challenges and opportunities connected with “FAIR principles to all elements of the research process in agricultural sciences and related disciplines”, the Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) had a IGAD Pre-conference meeting that held on March 19-20, 2018, in Berlin, Germany.

This pre-event took place before the 11th RDA Plenary Meeting, March 21-23, 2018, Theme: "From Data to Knowledge". The 2.5-day RDA Plenary meeting provided the ideal, neutral and trustworthy forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges of a global data ecosystem of best practices, standards and interoperable data infrastructures fostering cross-disciplinary knowledge and innovation.

In the frame of the IGAD pre-meeting, all IGAD Working Groups (WGs) reported about their activities undertaken during the last six months. In particular, March 20, 2018 was dedicated to the WGs already associated to IGAD and to those under evaluation, such as “Capacity Development”:

1. Wheat Data Interoperability WG

2. AgriSemantics WG

3. On-Farm Data Sharing WG

4. Rice Data Interoperability WG

5. Metrics and Indicators in Agricultural Sciences BoF

6. Capacity Development (under evaluation)

IGAD highlights :


The two-day IGAD pre-meeting helped all participants to better envision the range of actual applications and potential roadblocks for managing, describing and making research data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable, - in view of emerging innovations, trends and technologies.

In this context, the IGAD pre-meeting mapped use-cases (that are either underway or in the process of being developed) of FAIR principles, their strengths to uncover new opportunities for collaboration to promote Open Science and foster international FAIR research data networks.

The pre-meeting was an opportunity to exchange views and share experience on the challenges and perspectives in expanding the current vision of data-driven research into Open Science landscape fully driven by the FAIR data principles.

Co-chairs of the Interest Group on Agriculture Data (IGAD) Research Data Alliance (RDA)



The FAIR principles as published by FORCE11

The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship - Nature article (2016) launching the FAIR concept. "Throughout the Principles, we use the phrase ‘(meta)data’ in cases where the Principle should be applied to both metadata and data”.

Explanation of the FAIR Data principles by the Dutch Centre for Life Sciences

Recorded webinars: 

European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and FAIR data principles: 

FAIR principles and metrics for evaluation (SlideShare, 2017)

IGAD-CODATA Panel Session on Agricultural Data at CODATA 2017

Towards Digital Object Cloud (DOC) compliant with the FAIR principles

The 13th International Digital Curation Conference “Beyond FAIR – from principles to practice to global join up” (19-22 February 2018, Barcelona)

Take part in a FAIR Data Survey about the increasingly open use of Data in Science

Learn about the RDA Recommendations & Outputs that enable data sharing, exchange, and interoperability

Data Sharing : there is no One-Size Fits-All solution ...

Scholarly Communication, Digital Skills & Services and Research Infrastructure : LIBER Strategy (2018-2022)

Göttingen eResearch Alliance about eResearch related questions and Data Management issues

Machine-actionable data management plans (maDMPs)

Integrate & Deploy RDM services for my community (EUDAT)

FAIRsharing : Find, Register, Claim your Standard, Database, and Policy

Enabling FAIR Data Project (COPDESS: Coalition on Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences)

Enabling FAIR Data Across the Earth and Space Sciences

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With gratitude,