FAIRsharing: Mapping the landscape of scientific data standards, repositories and policies

FAIRsharing (https://fairsharing.org) presents its community approach to mapping and tracking the development of data standards and policies across scientific fields. In an article published today in Nature Biotechnology, the team behind FAIRsharing, along with key representatives of its user community, describe how FAIRsharing helps address the ongoing challenges to establish widely-adopted community standards across all stages of the data management cycle.

As today’s research is increasingly driven by data, there is a need for an interconnected network of data repositories, data and metadata standards, and policies, to ensure that data are trustworthy, persistent, and support reproducibility. Community-developed standards, such as those for the identification and reporting of data and metadata, are the fundamental components of the FAIR principles. These principles are designed to make all digital assets Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable by humans as well as by machines.

FAIRsharing is a key resource that systematically maps and connects the different community-driven standards, databases, repositories and data policies across all fields of science. It guides researchers, publishers, funders and others professionals by curating information about standards for the identification, citation and reporting on data, and how they relate to each other. As of February 2019, FAIRsharing had over 2,600 records, 1,200 standards, 1,200 databases and 118 data policies from scientific journals and funders.

“FAIRsharing is very useful to researchers and curators as they can search through the platform to identify the appropriate repository or metadata standards. The indicators of use and maturity for each standard also provide essential service to scientific journals and funders who issue recommendations to authors and researchers regarding data deposition or reporting standards,” says Professor Susanna-Assunta Sansone, the FAIRsharing founder and leader of the Data Readiness Group at the Department of Engineering Science of the University of Oxford (https://sansonegroup.eng.ox.ac.uk).

“FAIRsharing maintains an interrelated list of standards and databases, recommended to users by a funder or a publisher. With the evolving landscape of research data, funders and publishers can review their recommendations over time, which gives them valuable feedback when updating their policies,” says Peter McQuilton, FAIRsharing Project Coordinator.

The mission of FAIRsharing is to support consumers of standards, databases, repositories and policies and increase their visibility and uptake by the research community. It brings together producers and consumers of standards, databases, repositories and data policies. The collaborative work continues with several initiatives to more accurately represent and track the current landscape, and improve the maturity indicators and FAIR metrics.

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