Making FAIR principles reality


The European Commission’s group of experts’ final report and action plan on FAIR data have just been published. They highlight the measures which need to be taken regarding research culture and technology to make sure that data, codes and other research results follow the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) principles. Coordinated and simultaneous interventions are required in each of these areas to enable the FAIR approach to be applied.

Twenty-seven recommendations are made and these are divided into “priority” and “support” groups. The fifteen priority recommendations should be the first series of changes or measures to be taken to implement the FAIR principles. The support recommendations add extra details for this implementation. Each individual recommendation is followed by a set of actions. The complete set of recommendations and actions is presented in the FAIR action plan at the end of the report.

The required changes set out in the report are important in the framework of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and the European Commission and members States’ policy direction but in fact go beyond this. The experts consider that FAIR requires global agreements to ensure the highest level of interoperability and reusability of data going beyond disciplinary and geographical borders.

The president of the European Commission’s group of experts is Simon Hodson, executive director of CODATA. The final report and action plan are the result of a vast consultation process which began with an interim report and action plan published in June 2018.