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Jointly designing a data FAIRPORT
The workshop aimed at defining the DATA FAIRPORT, a minimal (yet comprehensive) framework in which current issues in data discoverability, access, annotation and authoring can be addressed. The pivotal challenge addressed in the workshop is related to the rapid shift to data driven (e)Science triggered by the ability to create ever larger and more complex data sets for knowledge discovery. As a response to the resulting waste of valuable data in the old publishing paradigm many funders now request data management and dissemination plans. However, no professional, global and user‐friendly environment exists to enable effective data publishing, rediscovery, sharing and re‐use. The conference brought together a unique group of experts that have been addressing this topic for many years and now may collectively have the network and the solutions to consolidate their efforts.
The DATA FAIRPORT will not dictate a single platform or a tightly integrated data infrastructure. Rather it will focus on conventions that enable data interoperability, stewardship and compliance against data and metadata standards, policies and practices. It was proposed that the convention for data and model services interoperability should be based on the minimal “hourglass” approach, which is the same as the approach that underpins the internet, the web and other robust, heterogeneous yet interoperable infrastructures. The hourglass focuses on the specification of lightweight interfaces, standard protocols and standard formats to define a ‘minimal Data Fairport scope’. It was proposed that the conventions for data and model metadata descriptions be founded on community standards for: identifiers, formats, checklists and vocabularies.
The workshop proved to be very interactive and collaborative and throughout the four days the topic of the Data Fairport was discussed from different angles. In this process progressive insight was gained and broad consensus was established. At the final day of the meeting a general presentation was given to a wider audience. About 45 people attended this session. These included several representatives of policy circles and funders including the European Commission, IMI, NGI, BBSRC, the RDA, DANS, the Dutch Ministry. These participants were asked to give their fresh perspective on the outcome of the conference and the meeting ended with a round of statements and in some cases already verbal commitments to the next phase of the FAIRPORT initiative. The outcome of this session was very encouraging and led to several decisions about follow up.
For more information on the specific outcomes of the workshop, please refer to the workshop website, FAIRPORT final report.
Scott Lusher (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Barend Mons (Leiden, Netherlands)