A key enabler to achieve international-grade data stewardship is for research data and information to be published in a ‘FAIR’ manner. Read more about the FAIR Data guiding principles in the FAIR Data paper, that was recently published in the Nature Publishing Group journal Scientific Data. Several Dutch scientists and data experts involved in DTL are a co-author on this paper

Fair data image NGS paper

In the FAIR Data approach, data should be:

  1. Findable – Easy to find by both humans and computer systems and based on mandatory description of the metadata that allow the discovery of interesting datasets;
  2. Accessible – Stored for long term such that they can be easily accessed and/or downloaded with well-defined license and access conditions (Open Access when possible), whether at the level of metadata, or at the level of the actual data content;
  3. Interoperable – Ready to be combined with other datasets by humans as well as computer systems;
  4. Reusable – Ready to be used for future research and to be processed further using computational methods.

An important step in the FAIR Data approach is to publish existing and new datasets in a semantically interoperable format that can be understood by computer systems. By semantically annotating data items and metadata, we can use computer systems to (semi) automatically combine different data sources, resulting in richer knowledge discovery activities.

DTL actively promotes FAIR Data Stewardship of life science information, within its partnership and in close collaboration with its international partners. This means that we:

  • Co-develop and fine-tune on the international FAIR Data Principles
  • Drive development of technology and infrastructure for FAIR Data Stewardship, including acquisition of software for FAIR Data analytics
  • Involve (international) organisations that provide access to essential core legacy life science datasets and scientific literature
  • Assist groups to translate their datasets to a FAIR format
  • Actively engage with international initiatives that promote data sharing and citation, and assist in driving standard-setting.
  • Actively involve science funders in the Netherlands, European Commission, and globally to work towards adoption of FAIR Data standards.

As the Dutch node in ELIXIR, DTL assembles Dutch and international groups involved in FAIR Data Stewardship. If you want to know more about how to get involved: contact Luiz Olavo Bonino, Expert group leader FAIR Data.

International FAIR data movement: Data FAIRport
DTL is a strong driver of the international FAIR Data initiative Data FAIRport. The principles for the FAIR Data approach can be found here . If you want to participate in the international FAIR Data publishing group, please go here.

DTL is in the process of implementing the first FAIRport for life science data. A FAIRport is a technological platform that allows data owners to make their datasets available in a FAIR format and allow data users to formulate questions in the platform, receiving answers that combine relevant data from different but interoperable datasets. In our vision, the FAIRport  can also enable the creation of an ecosystem around the platform including, for instance, service providers offering applications on top of the FAIRport that aggregate value for the users.