Preprint Open Access

Are the FAIR Data Principles fair?

Dunning, Alastair; de Smaele, Madeleine; Böhmer, Jasmin


This practice paper describes an ongoing research project to test the effectiveness and relevance of the FAIR Data Principles. Simultaneously, it will analyse how easy it is for data archives to adhere to the principles. The research took place from November 2016 till January 2017, and will be underpinned with feedback from the repositories in time for the IDCC event in Edinburgh in February 2017.

The FAIR Data Principles feature 15 facets corresponding to the 4 letters of FAIR - Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable. The principles have already gained traction within the research world. The European Commission has recently expanded its demand for research to produce open data. The relevant guidelines are explicitly written in the context of the FAIR Data Principles. Given an increasing number of researchers will have exposure to the guidelines, understanding their viability and suggesting where there may be room for modification and adjustment is of vital importance.

This practice paper is connected to a data-set containing the original overview of the sample group, statistics and graphs in an Excel spreadsheet. Over the course of two months the web-interfaces, help-pages and metadata-records of over 40 data repositories have been examined to score the individual data repository against the FAIR principles and facets. The traffic-light rating system enables colour-coding according to compliance and vagueness. The statistical analysis provides overall, categorized, on the principles focusing, and on the facet focusing results.

The analysis include the statistical and descriptive evaluation, followed by elaborations on Elements of the FAIR Data Principles, the subject specific or repository specific differences, and subsequently what repositories can do to improve their information architecture.

This version is provided as pre-print and is not peer reviewed practice paper. Please find the official and peer-reviewd publication via the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DIGITAL CURATION at the reference section on the right hand side.
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