FAIR - Fast, Active, Integrated and Responsive: how the EOSC FAIR Working Group rolls

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FAIR - Fast, Active, Integrated and Responsive: how the EOSC FAIR Working Group rolls

FAIR - Fast, Active, Integrated and Responsive: how the EOSC FAIR Working Group rolls

30 Jan 2020

By: Sarah Jones, EOSC Executive Board member and EOSC FAIR Working Group Chair

Everyone likes to add letters to FAIR, so I thought we should change things up by redefining the letters instead. Within the EOSC FAIR Working Group we are examining researcher practice and developing a PID policy, metrics, certification guidelines and an Interoperability Framework to implement a web of FAIR data in EOSC. On Tuesday we held our first Working Group meeting of 2020 and I was overwhelmed by the progress and dedication of our four Task Forces. 

The team is working Fast and being very Active! As we discussed progress it was clear there are several points of connection between the activities and overlaps with other groups such as Rules of Participation. FAIR practice and metrics for example have a close alignment and both Task Forces have been considering how FAIR applies to software. It was great to see how activities are Integrated, and the new monthly telecons we have started between Task Force co-chairs will ensure this continues. Another watch word for us is being Responsive. We have already started one consultation on the PID policy and have others imminent on metrics and certification. The PID Task Force is regularly monitoring the PID forum and responding to comments. And don’t forget you can send thoughts and references to the Working Group at inform-fair-wg@eoscsecretariat.eu See the earlier blog post on how you can engage with us.

FAIR practice

The FAIR practice Task Force has been reviewing literature on data management practices in different disciplines to collate a body of evidence. This abstracts examples of key enablers and barriers, as well as models that could be mirrored by others. The spreadsheet lets you filter by FAIR criteria to look for relevant examples. Their next step is to write a brief report synthesising the current state of play. We’re conscious that some INFRAEOSC projects have recently done requirements gathering or that there may be key literature we have missed. As such, we will hold a webinar to encourage others to add key details from their work into the spreadsheet so we can include this in the report. The FAIR practice Task Force is also feeding into the other groups, advising on relevant metrics, PID adoption and standards for interoperability. 

PID policy

In December we released an initial PID policy for consultation. This was a collaboration between the FAIR PID Task Force and a few members from the Architecture Working Group. The responses we have received so far come from all over the world and include critical stakeholders who deliver key services such as ORCID and the DOI Foundation. This was the reason we co-located our WG meeting with the PIDapalooza conference in Lisbon so we could run a consultation session there. The PID Task Force is currently analysing responses and plans to release a second version in March. The Architecture PID Task Force will develop complementary implementation guidelines over Spring/Summer. Based on the feedback received, we plan to host workshops to solicit missing responses or address key areas of concern.

Metrics and certification

The Metrics and Certification Task Force has prepared two initial papers for consultation which will be released in early February. The first covers metrics for FAIR digital objects emerging from the RDA FAIR Maturity Model WG and reflects on implementation challenges. Future papers in early Summer will make recommendations on which metrics should be applied within EOSC and set minimum levels. The certification paper focuses on repositories and the application of CoreTrustSeal. Initial thoughts are provided on other services within the EOSC ecosystem which may require certification and we plan to hold a workshop in Spring exploring work in this area.

Interoperability Framework

The Interoperability Framework Task Force has been meeting bi-weekly and exploring work such as the European Interoperability Framework. Two co-creation requests have been funded to support this work. A legal interoperability study has been approved and will go out to tender soon. We also have funds for a workshop to examine different models and brainstorm the best approach for EOSC.

In order to ensure we keep up this impressive work rate and quality of outcomes, I have been joined by a new co-chair, Francoise Genova. I am honoured to have Francoise by my side. I learned so much from her during the Turning FAIR into Reality Expert Group and we spent many weekends simultaneously writing and reviewing from our respective balconies and patios. We make an effective tag team and the Task Forces have already found her constructive insights beneficial. 

Our next Working Group meeting will be in early May but we will be holding webinars and workshops before then. Watch out for the following:

  • a webinar on FAIR practice across disciplines and introduction to using the spreadsheet
  • a tender for a legal interoperability study, due out in February
  • an invite only workshop to plan the EOSC interoperability framework likely in February/March
  • an invite only workshop on certification frameworks for services beyond repositories expected in April
  • consultation workshops on the PID policy, likely at RDA in Melbourne this March and over Spring/Summer


Thanks to the team for all the inputs and to Palina for organising such a great location for our meeting. Just look at those relaxed and smiling faces as a result.