Making FAIR Easy with FAIR Tools: From Creolization to Convergence

Authors : Mark Thompson, Kees Burger, Rajaram Kaliyaperumal, Marco Roos, Luiz Olavo Bonino da Silva Santos

Since their publication in 2016 we have seen a rapid adoption of the FAIR principles in many scientific disciplines where the inherent value of research data and, therefore, the importance of good data management and data stewardship, is recognized.

This has led to many communities asking “What is FAIR?” and “How FAIR are we currently?”, questions which were addressed respectively by a publication revisiting the principles and the emergence of FAIR metrics.

However, early adopters of the FAIR principles have already run into the next question: “How can we become (more) FAIR?” This question is more difficult to answer, as the principles do not prescribe any specific standard or implementation.

Moreover, there does not yet exist a mature ecosystem of tools, platforms and standards to support human and machine agents to manage, produce, publish and consume FAIR data in a user-friendly and efficient (i.e., “easy”) way. In this paper we will show, however, that there are already many emerging examples of FAIR tools under development.

This paper puts forward the position that we are likely already in a creolization phase where FAIR tools and technologies are merging and combining, before converging in a subsequent phase to solutions that make FAIR feasible in daily practice.


The History and Future of Data Citation in Practice

Authors : Mark A. Parsons, Ruth E. Duerr, Matthew B. Jones

In this review, we adopt the definition that ‘Data citation is a reference to data for the purpose of credit attribution and facilitation of access to the data’ (TGDCSP 2013: CIDCR6). Furthermore, access should be enabled for both humans and machines (DCSG 2014).

We use this to discuss how data citation has evolved over the last couple of decades and to highlight issues that need more research and attention.

Data citation is not a new concept, but it has changed and evolved considerably since the beginning of the digital age. Basic practice is now established and slowly but increasingly being implemented.

Nonetheless, critical issues remain. These issues are primarily because we try to address multiple human and computational concerns with a system originally designed in a non-digital world for more limited use cases.

The community is beginning to challenge past assumptions, separate the multiple concerns (credit, access, reference, provenance, impact, etc.), and apply different approaches for different use cases.

URL : The History and Future of Data Citation in Practice


Research Data Management Among Life Sciences Faculty: Implications for Library Service

Authors : Kelly A. Johnson, Vicky Steeves


This paper aims to inform on opportunities for librarians to assist faculty with research data management by examining practices and attitudes among life sciences faculty at a tier one research university.


The authors issued a survey to estimate actual and perceived research data management needs of New York University (NYU) life sciences faculty in order to understand how the library could best contribute to the research life cycle.


Survey responses indicate that over half of the respondents were aware of publisher and funder mandates, and most are willing to share their data, but many indicated they do not utilize data repositories. Respondents were largely unaware of data services available through the library, but the majority were open to considering such services. Survey results largely mimic those of similar studies, in that storing data (and the subsequent ability to share it) is the most easily recognized barrier to sound data management practices.


At NYU, as with other institutions, the library is not immediately recognized as a valuable partner in managing research output. This study suggests that faculty are largely unaware of, but are open to, existent library services, indicating that immediate outreach efforts should be aimed at promoting them.

URL : Research Data Management Among Life Sciences Faculty: Implications for Library Service


Public Microbial Resource Centers: Key Hubs for Findable,Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) Microorganismsand Genetic Materials

Authors : P. Becker, M. Bosschaerts, P. Chaerle, H.-M. Daniel, A. Hellemans, A. Olbrechts, L. Rigouts, A. Wilmotte, M. Hendrickx

In the context of open science, the availability of research materials is essential for knowledge accumulation and to maximize the impact of scientific research. In microbiology, microbial domain biological resource centers (mBRCs) have long-standing experience in preserving and distributing authenticated microbial strains and genetic materials (e.g., recombinant plasmids and DNA libraries) to support new discoveries and follow-on studies.

These culture collections play a central role in the conservation of microbial biodiversity and have expertise in cultivation, characterization, and taxonomy of microorganisms. Information associated with preserved biological resources is recorded in databases and is accessible through online catalogues.

Legal expertise developed by mBRCs guarantees end users the traceability and legality of the acquired material, notably with respect to the Nagoya Protocol. However, awareness of the advantages of depositing biological materials in professional repositories remains low, and the necessity of securing strains and genetic resources for future research must be emphasized.

This review describes the unique position of mBRCs in microbiology and molecular biology through their history, evolving roles, expertise, services, challenges, and international collaborations. It also calls for an increased deposit of strains and genetic resources, a responsibility shared by scientists, funding agencies, and publishers.

Journal policies requesting a deposit during submission of a manuscript represent one of the measures to make more biological materials available to the broader community, hence fully releasing their potential and improving openness and reproducibility in scientific research.


Cultural obstacles to research data management and sharing at TU Delft

Authors : Esther Plomp, Nicolas Dintzner, Marta Teperek, Alastair Dunning

Research data management (RDM) is increasingly important in scholarship. Many researchers are, however, unaware of the benefits of good RDM and unsure about the practical steps they can take to improve their RDM practices. Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) addresses this cultural barrier by appointing Data Stewards at every faculty.

By providing expert advice and increasing awareness, the Data Stewardship project focuses on incremental improvements in current data and software management and sharing practices.

This cultural change is accelerated by the Data Champions who share best practices in data management with their peers. The Data Stewards and Data Champions build a community that allows a discipline-specific approach to RDM. Nevertheless, cultural change also requires appropriate rewards and incentives.

While local initiatives are important, and we discuss several examples in this paper, systemic changes to the academic rewards system are needed. This will require collaborative efforts of a broad coalition of stakeholders and we will mention several such initiatives.

This article demonstrates that community building is essential in changing the code and data management culture at TU Delft.

URL : Cultural obstacles to research data management and sharing at TU Delft


Une classification interdisciplinaire pour l’échange et la médiation des données ouvertes de la recherche

Authors : Marcin Trzmielewski, Claudio Gnoli

Cette réflexion propose une évaluation de l’Integrative Levels Classification (ILC) en vue d’organiser des données ouvertes de la recherche en sciences humaines et sociales. Elle s’appuie sur une analyse des propriétés de l’ILC par rapport aux pratiques, usages et contexte de partage et de médiation des données.

Les résultats obtenus sont satisfaisants et présentent l’ILC comme prometteuse pour la construction d’une science ouverte, dynamique et novatrice.


Produire, analyser et partager des données ouvertes en Humanités Numériques : quelques bonnes pratiques

Auteur/Author : Gérald Kembellec

La réponse à des problématiques scientifiques liées aux humanités passe par le traitement numérique de corpus. Les humanités numériques deviennent un sujet d’importance qui regroupe des savoirs et des méthodes issus de diverses disciplines comme l’informatique, les statistiques, la sociologie, la cartographie ou encore la linguistique.

Cet article, s’il est ancré dans les sciences de l’information et de la communication, convoque des méthodes périphériques et se propose comme un vade-mecum de la gestion des données des humanités : la qualification, la collecte, le traitement, l’enrichissement, la documentation et le partage des données des humanités.

Nous mettons ici en avant le concept de « courtoisie du FAIR data » en contexte scientifique : la valorisation des corpus, en particulier par le partage de jeux de données de qualité, documentés et accessibles physiquement et légalement exploitables. Nous insistons également sur l’éthique lors des étapes de traitement et d’exploitation des données de la recherche.