The GO FAIR Initiative

In 2016, the European Commission published the concept of a European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

The GO FAIR Initiative is a proposal for putting the EOSC into practice.

The GO FAIR Initiative aims to make research data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable across national and disciplinary boundaries.

It has a very open, bottom-up approach that allows to include all research fields and member states, thus enabling common use and reuse of research data in the future. Since most research fields today are interdisciplinary in nature, this adds significant value to the advance of knowledge in data-based research.

France, Germany and the Netherlands perceive the GO FAIR Initiative as a suitable pathfinder for the European Open Science Cloud and an Internet of fair Data and Services. Therefore, they have established an internationally operating office at three sites – Paris, Hamburg and Leiden – to support the implementation and further development of the GO FAIR initiative. This GO FAIR International Support and Coordination Office is tasked with building a worldwide network of academic communities and promoting the acceptance and implementation of the FAIR principles.

The FAIR principles

The FAIR principles formulate the basic principles needed to maximise the sustainable reusability of data. FAIR stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. Their implementation ensures that data can be accessed and used across disciplinary and national boundaries.

Findable (Meta)data can be easily found by humans and machines. Metadata in particular simplify the search for relevant datasets.

Accessible Clearly defined licensing and access protocols ensure that (meta)data can be retrieved, whenever possible in Open Access.

Interoperabel Humans and machines can use and process datasets.

Reusable Data and metadata are sufficiently well described for both humans and computers, so that they can be replicated or combined by computer-aided methods in future research.

The following list offers a basic definition for every principle, examples and links to useful resources: : https://www.go-fair.org/fair-principles/

The three pillars of the GO FAIR Initiative

In order to penetrate the science system at all levels, efforts must be made in several activity fields. Within the GO FAIR Initiative, these are described as GO Change, GO Train, and GO Build.


GO CHANGE aims to instigate cultural change to make the FAIR principles a working standard in science and to reform reward systems to incorporate open science activities and acknowledge research data as an important result of the research process.


GO TRAIN is about creating and maintaining the required data expertise. Even before a research project is started, a meaningful description of the research data must be planned to ensure their reusability. Core competencies in data administration (data stewardship and data science) are essential for a responsible handling of data. Data administrators provide mediation between science and the developers of infrastructure. The aim is to have core certified data experts and to have at least one certified institute in each Member State and for each discipline to support implementation of data stewardship.


GO BUILD deals with the need for interoperable and federated data infrastructures. In addition, it is about the harmonisation of standards, protocols, and services, which enable all researchers to deposit, access, and analyse scientific data across disciplines.

GO FAIR Collaboration

Close collaboration and continuous exchange with the numerous initiatives and working groups (e.g. RDA, EOSC Pilot, OSPP) at national and international level in the area of research data management is vital to ensure mutual interconnectability and to help build an EOSC accepted by the member states and an internet of FAIR Data and Services.