How do you deal with FAIR Data?

Datum: 31/08/2017

In recent years, the availability of data has increased significantly. Technological developments have made it easier to acquire and share data. There are still some unresolved issues, however. For example, data may be shared that is unreadable to someone else or the sharing process may not be secure. The international FAIR Data principles were developed to better facilitate the availability of data and stimulate open science. What does this mean and how can researchers follow these principles?

FAIR Data

In the Netherlands, the FAIR Data principles are actively promoted by the Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences (DTL). The FAIR principle states that data must be made available to other researchers in a findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable manner. The main goal is to provide open access to data and restrict this access only in certain cases.

FAIR Data is becoming more prominent in the research world and a growing number of financing bodies and research organisations ask for FAIR Data. For example, the NWO created a data management protocol in October of 2016. When applying for funding for a study, researchers must not only submit their research proposal but also demonstrate how they will manage their data. Issues such as “Are we collecting any data that might be reused later?” or ‘What do we need to store our data?” have to be taken into account from now on when applying for funding. This is one of the many issues that researchers face.

It is good to think more carefully about data management, however. The goal of FAIR Data is to allow researchers to use each other’s data in the correct manner. This results in more knowledge and will allow FAIR Data to bring about an important change in the world of science.

New method

This change calls for a new method and facilities to support it. RSRCH is actively working to facilitate the use of the FAIR Data principles via the RSRCH Platform. At the moment, RSRCH already offers solutions that are in keeping with the FAIR Data principles. For example, it is possible to receive FAIR Data securely via e.g. SFTP. This has made USB drives a thing of the past. “We are working hard to optimise and improve the SFTP process,” says Stefan van Aalst, Product Manager at RSRCH. When researchers use data that is less suitable for open science, e.g. privacy- or competition-sensitive data, this is also supported by storing the data securely in a private environment: the workspace.

In short, developments and new guidelines in the research world call for proper data management. To support researchers and their organisations with these changes, RSRCH is actively working to implement the FAIR Data principles on its platform. With the RSRCH Platform, researchers can focus on what they do best: conduct research.