FAIR data principles: how well known or understood are they?

March 26, 2018

In October 2017, ANDS, Nectar and RDS undertook a short survey to collect views amongst the research and research infrastructure community in Australia on the FAIR data principles. The respondents were from universities, research infrastructure facilities, government agencies and publicly funded research organisations; the following is based on 249 responses.  A detailed summary is available upon request - contact communications@ands-nectar-rds.org.au.
 
KEY FINDINGS
 
About half of the respondents were already familiar with FAIR data principles and found them easy to understand. Most of this group had already applied some or all of the principles in their work and were likely to recommend the principles to their colleagues
 
When asked how the principles had been applied, Accessible received the most mentions followed by Findable and Reusable.  Interoperable trailed the list.
 
The most mentioned reasons for not using the FAIR data principles were lack of awareness, FAIR not considered relevant to the respondents’ current role or not a priority or part of their strategies.
 
The most frequently mentioned gaps that were mentioned in making data FAIR were standardised data formats, provenance tools and ethics and access advice.
 
FAIR INTO THE FUTURE
 
When asked what sort of support they would like on FAIR, the respondents suggested tips, awareness training and webinars. This was followed by requests for detailed support material such as case studies, FAQs, templates, standards, and flow charts.  Other suggestions were around resources, advice on ethics and tools. Some respondents mentioned the need for increasing incentives for making data FAIR, by funders, organisations and agencies by embedding this in policies and procedures.
 
The results of the survey will help ANDS, RDS and Nectar to work with its partners to further support the uptake and use of the FAIR data principles.

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Monash University is the lead agent of ANDS.

The University of Melbourne is the lead agent of Nectar.

The University of Queensland is the lead agent of RDS.

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This activity received grant funding from the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.