Data-based science: FAIR becomes the new normal

More than 1,100 representatives from 71 countries met virtually for an exchange about research data management and discussed the future of data-based science.

[Translate to Englisch:] GO FAIR

Kiel/Hamburg, 19 January 2021. Research data management in the future means that research data and objects can be reused across disciplinary and geographical boundaries. What the design of a framework for such research data management should look like was at the core of the debates at the “International FAIR Convergence Symposium”. From 27 November to 4 December 2020, more than 1,100 scientists, data experts, developers for infrastructures and decision makers from science policy convened to advance solutions for the reuse of research data.

The future is open and reproducible science. Besides a cultural change towards more openness and transparency in science, this requires infrastructures that put interconnected research data at the centre of data-based science, complemented by scholarly publications and other knowledge-based products such as research software. The steadily increasing supply of services supporting research and publishing processes will accelerate this development; and Open Science will become the internationally established new standard of scientific working.

Open Science and FAIR become mainstream

These were the visions for the future that representatives of different initiatives used at the International FAIR Convergence Symposium to advocate the Global Open Science Cloud, an environment that bundles all present and future regional and national efforts (e.g. AOSP, ESOC, Compute Canada, NSF, ARDC, CSTCloud etc.) supporting Open Science and thus enabling Data Visiting, for instance. In contrast to the previous concept of Data Sharing, there will be no transfer of research data, but instead of algorithms, code or software for analysing research data. This allows research data to be reused and processed multiple times and under strict observance of the legal conditions applicable at the location.

Joint activities of the platforms and clouds currently under way can use their critical mass to foster standardisation processes and effect globally compatible decisions in governance, strategy or technical implementation. Cooperation will contribute to fulfil the requirements included in the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.

Never waste a good crisis

The “Covidification” of science and research became apparent at the symposium in the networked cooperations across the world and demonstrated how the scientific ecosystem can act globally to make research data findable, accessible and reusable. The challenge now is to transfer this modus operandi to other research and societal questions. 49 workshops, five panel discussions, a series of impulse talks and two poster sessions with 43 posters broke down the idea of the Global Open Science Cloud into very specific partial aspects. The week-long programme covered all phases of the research processes with topics ranging from the technological to the cultural, and discussed existing solution approaches that address the new reality of data-driven science.

All conference videos of the International FAIR Convergence Symposiums are available on the Vimeo channel of CODATA:

Conference videos

The videos cover a wide range of topics, from best practices, the presentation of solution approaches in research data management, to the development of concepts for training so-called data stewards.

More content and the programme are available:

Overview of the programme and information about the speakers

Overview of the panel discussions

The symposium was organised by CODATA (Committee on Data) and the GO FAIR-Initiative. Together with RDA (Research Data Alliance) and WDS (World Data Systems) they are the four major international data organisations who advocate the promotion of the global research data landscape. Their cooperation has been laid down in a joint statement.


Katharina Kriegel
Public Relations GO FAIR-Initiative
ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
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