Published April 17, 2023 | Version v1
Presentation Open

Developing Vocabularies for the International OneGeochemistry Initiative: Specifying Locally, Harmonising Globally

  • 1. Göttingen University, Germany
  • 2. Columbia University, USA
  • 3. AuScope
  • 4. ARDC
  • 5. Australian National University, Australia
  • 6. GFZ Potsdam, Germany
  • 7. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany


Over the last century enormous volumes of geochemical data have been acquired and thousands of globally distributed geochemical databases across the academic, government and industry sectors now exist. Unfortunately, there have been few efforts to standardise data or the diverse approaches for processing and modelling them, making it difficult to harness these data assets and contribute to global societal challenges (e.g., UN Sustainable Development Goals).

OneGeochemistry is a new initiative that seeks to build and maintain consensus-driven standards to create a global network of findable and accessible geochemical data that is truly interoperable and reusable to both humans and machines. The highest priority is the development of internationally shared FAIR, machine-actionable vocabularies. Progressing towards community-agreed vocabularies, as well as their endorsement and governance, is difficult because geochemistry is spread across four science unions and tens of international/ national societies. Fortunately, geochemistry is one of eleven discipline case studies of the CODATA-led EU H2020 WorldFAIR project, which is exploring implementation of the FAIR principles across these case studies as well as leading the development of a global international framework for interdisciplinary interoperability and reusability of digital research objects.

To start this process, four international geochemical databases (Astromat, AusGeochem, EarthChem, GEOROC) are now collaborating on a modular approach to develop shared terminologies. Where possible, terms from existing international vocabularies will be utilised (e.g., MINDAT, IUPAC chemical terminologies, DRUM). For remaining terms, local profiles will be published in Research Vocabularies Australia. The creation of a vocabularies record to be used by each database can converge databases to interoperability, with a vocabulary being a FAIR enabling resource (FER). FAIR Implementation Profiles are a tool to capture each of these FERs, and FER nanopublication URIs can help to enhance the machine readability and interoperability of local databases within a global network of geochemical data resources.


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