This is an initiative of the stakeholders in the research process including academics, industry, funders and scholarly  publishers to design and implement a set of principles that are called the FAIR Data Principles. FAIR data is all about reuse of data and emphasizes the ability of computers to find and use data. This involves data stewardship which is about proper collection, annotation and archiving of data but also preservation into the future of valuable digital assets. The product of good data management and stewardship are high quality digital publications that facilitate and simplify the ongoing process of discovery, evaluation and reuse.  In this context, data is not only data in the conventional sense but also the algorithms, tools and workflows that led to the data.

The FAIR Principles insist that all data be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Resuable.


  1. (Meta)data is assigned a globally unique and persistent identifier
  2. Data is described with rich metadata
  3. (Meta)data is registered or indexed in a searchable resource
  4. (Meta)data specifies the data identifier


  1. (Meta)data is retrieved by the identifier using a standardized communications protocol
  2. The protocol is open, free and universally implementable
  3. The protocol allows for an authentication and authorization procedure when necessary
  4. The (meta)data remains accessible even when the data is not


  1. (Meta)data uses a formal, accessible, shared and broadly applicable language for knowledge representation
  2. (Meta)data uses vocabularies that follow the Fair Principles
  3. (Meta)data includes qualified references to other metadata


  1. (Meta)data must have a plurality of accurate and relevant attributes
  2. (Meta)data is released with a clear and accessible data usage license
  3. (Meta)data is associated with its provenance
  4. (Meta)data must meet domain-relevant community standards

These principles will ensure that data gathered in the course of research will be made openly available for use by others whenever possible in a manner consistent with legal, ethical, disciplinary and regulatory frameworks and norms and with due regard to the costs involved. What this means is that good data management is required at all stages in the research process. There may be reasons why the data will be restricted but such restrictions should be justifiable. Data supporting publications should be accessible by publication date and should be in a citeable form. The FAIR principles highlight the need to develop data management skills, to make the underlying data in publications freely available where possible, they acknowledge the right of the data creator to reasonable first use and expect data users to acknowledge the source when they use others’ data.


Back to top