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Synchronising EOSC-Nordic FAIR implementation with other EOSC initiatives


By now, everyone has undoubtedly heard of the FAIR Data Principles ⁠— data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable to the greatest extent possible (Wilkinson et al. 2016). These principles provide overall guidance for research data management and stewardship for all stakeholders, putting specific emphasis on enhancing the ability of machines to find and use data automatically.

As noted in the Turning FAIR into Reality report (2018) by the European Commission Expert Group on FAIR data, the implementation of FAIR principles requires appropriate services and components to be in place in the broader FAIR ecosystem. These services and components should themselves be ‘FAIR’ (discoverable, identifiable, recorded in catalogues or registries), and they should follow appropriate standards and protocols to enable interoperability. Implementing FAIR will not be fast or straightforward since it requires changes in research culture and infrastructure provision. These changes are especially important when building the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

The EOSC-Nordic project aims to support communities in becoming more FAIR across the Nordic and Baltic regions in compliance with EOSC agreed standards and practices. This work makes us one of many European initiatives that currently are involved with FAIR. The amount of activities around FAIR is welcome, but at the same time, it means that the landscape is evolving quickly, and there is a risk of overlapping efforts. To provide coordination and interaction, and to further the FAIR vision for Europe, the FAIRsFAIR project has established a FAIR Synchronisation Force that liaises with the five ESFRI Clusters, the thematic and regional EOSC (5b) projects, and the European Group of FAIR Champions.

This spring, the EOSC-Nordic has been actively participating in the second FAIR Synchronization Force workshop that was planned to take place in the Hague but was turned into a series of online sessions instead. The plenary session, held on April 29, was followed by six group sessions, each focusing on a single ‘pillar’ from the Turning FAIR into Reality report. The workshop has helped us understand how we fit into the EOSC landscape, how different initiatives and actors are addressing the Turning FAIR into Reality report recommendations, what concrete actions they are taking to implement FAIR, and when we can expect major outputs.

The online sessions have been a good opportunity for us to inform others of the EOSC-Nordic work. Especially our work on FAIR maturity evaluation seems to be at the forefront of FAIRification activities. The second FAIR Synchronization Force workshop will wrap-up virtually on  June 11. The objective is to produce as comprehensive a picture as possible of the landscape of FAIR activities: how the various projects, groups, and initiatives are working towards implementing the 27 recommendations of the Turning FAIR into Reality report. We hope that the workshop will eventually help us synchronise our efforts better with other initiatives, in particular with other 5b projects in building the FAIR ecosystem.

All meeting notes and recordings are/will be made available on the FAIRsFAIR website.

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Thematic and regional EOSC (5b) projects: SYNERGY, EOSC-NORDIC, EOSC-PILLAR, NI4OS-EUROPE, EXPANDS