Skip to main content

Research Data Management: FAIR Data

What is FAIR?

To ensure best research practice and to maximise the potential for use and reuse of research data, it is recommended that the FAIR data principles are adhered to. FAIR data are data which meet set standards of Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability. These standards ensure that the metadata that you produce (data about your data) are the most accurate and comprehensive, ensuring you are getting the best out of your data in terms of its potential for being used by others. Before you start your research, it is recommended that you consider how you can meet the FAIR principles. The most current update of the FAIR Principles are published here

If you decide that you will share your data on Aston Data Explorer, as the aspects considered under Findable, Accessible and Interoperable are met by the repository, most of your work will go into how to make your work Reusable. If you decide to share your data on another platform (e.g Zenodo), they generally will also meet the Findable, Accessible and Interoperable requirements. The Reusable aspect of FAIR data requires a greater input from the researchers to be able to document information about their data.

Findable

The below principles go in steps (i.e. to reach the F4. point of the metadata scale, you would have already met F3., F2,. and F1.)

 

F1. Have a globally unique and persistent identifier for your data.

Most data repositories (including Aston Data Explorer) will provide you with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) which will meet this requirement

 

F2. Data are described with rich metadata

This includes both ‘intrinsic’ metadata (e.g., the data captured automatically by machines that generate data such) and ‘contextual’ metadata (e.g., the protocol used, keywords and links to a formal protocol document), the measurement devices used ( keywords and links to manufacturers),  units of the captured data, calculation of the properties of materials, or any other details about the experiment. Aston Data Explorer is compliant with the Datacite Metadata Scheme.

 

F3. Metadata clearly and explicitly include the identifier of the data they describe

Include the DOI from F2. in your metadata from F3.

F4. Metadata clearly and explicitly include the identifier of the data they describe

The metadata for each dataset record is indexed and searchable. Most reputable data repositories will allow indexing. Aston Data Explorer has its data indexed in the Datacite servers. The data can also be searched for using its DOI on Google Scholar

Interoperable

The below principles go in steps (i.e. to reach the I3. point of the metadata scale, you would have already met I2., and I1.)

I1. (Meta)data uses a formal, accessible, shared, and broadly applicable language for knowledge representation

The metadata used in sharing your dataset needs to be machine readable without the need of algorithms, translators or mappings. Aston Data Explorer uses the Datacite internal representation of metadata and offers export to other popular formats e,g. Dublin Core

I2. (Meta)data use vocabularies that follow the FAIR principles

Using machine readable vocabularies

I3. (Meta)data include qualified reference to other (meta)data

Creating as many meaningful links as possible between metadata resources to enrich the contextual knowledge about the data e.g. specifiy if one dataset builds upon another, if additional data is required, if complementary data is available in a different dataset

Accessible

The below principles go in steps (i.e. to reach the A2. point of the metadata scale, you would have already met A1.2, A1.1. and A1.)

A1. (Meta)data are retrievable by their identifier using a standardised communications protocol

Most data repositories are harvestable using the OAI-PMP protcol, including Aston Data Explorer. This principle states that access to the metadata should not require specialised tools

 

     A1.1 The protocol is open, free, and universally implementable

       See point A1. - OAI-PMH is open, free and uses universal protocols for retrieving information from the internet.

    A1.2 The protocol allows for an authentication and authorization procedure where necessary

       See point A1. - OAI-PMH is open, free and uses universal protocols for retrieving information from the internet.

Reuseability

The below principles go in steps (i.e. to reach the R1.3. point of the metadata scale, you would have already met R1.2., R1.1., and R1.)

 

R1. Meta(data) are richly described with plurality of accurate and relevant attributes

What purpose was the data generated/collected for? What limitations are there that other users need to be aware of? When was the data generated/collected? Is it raw data or processed data? Are all variable names explained or self-explanatory? What version of the data are you sharing?

 

     R1.1. (Meta)data are released with a clear and accessible data usage licence

    What usage rights do you want to attach to your data?

 

     R1.2 (Meta)data are associated with detailed provenance

     Where did the data come from? Who must be cited if it is reused? Who generated or collected it? How        has it been processed? Has it been published before? Does it contain any data from a third party which you      have modified, transformed, or completed?

 

     R1.3. (Meta)data meet domain-relevant community standards