Across the research disciplines there are thousands of standards and several thousand databases, designed to assist the virtuous data cycle, from collection to annotation, through preservation and publication to subsequent sharing and reuse. As consumers of these standards and databases, it is often difficult to know which resources are the most relevant for your specific domain and needs. As producers, you want to be sure your standard or database is findable by prospective users, and recommended in data policies by funders, journals and other organizations.
With our growing and interlinked content, functionalities and endorsements, FAIRsharing is the most comprehensive informative and educational resource of standards, databases and data policies and is here to help you!
The FAIRsharing team works with and for the community to map the landscape of community-developed standards and to define the indicators necessary to monitor their:
- development, evolution and integration;
- implementation and use in databases; and
- adoption in data policies by funders, journals and other organizations.
Whether you are a researcher, standard/database developer, funder, journal editor, librarian or data manager, FAIRsharing can help you understand which standards are mature and appropriate to your use case. By mapping the relationships between standards and the databases that implement them, or the policies that recommend them, FAIRsharing enables you to make an informed decision as to which standard or database to use or endorse.
FAIRsharing is a web-based, searchable portal of three interlinked registries, containing both in-house and crowdsourced manually curated descriptions of standards, databases and data policies, combined with an integrated view across all three types of resource. By registering your resource on FAIRsharing, you not only gain credit for your work, but you increase its visibility outside of your direct domain, so reducing the potential for unnecessary reinvention and proliferation of standards and databases.
We have designed an initial set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for you to learn:
- The Basics of Standards: what are they and why you should care; how you can contribute to an existing effort or start a new one; what are the FAIR principles; how does the community work together to generate and maintain standards, and what is their typical life cycle.
- How FAIRsharing Helps You: to register your standard, database or policy with us, use the content and functionality we offer to meet your needs, reach out to the communities and portals we work with.
- How to Use the FAIRsharing Portal: search and navigate through our interlinked content; help your decision-making process through our life cycle and adoption indicators; recommend resources, grouped by domain, species or organization; add/edit a resource's record.
However, if you still cannot find what you are looking for, please email us with your question and we will add it to this page.
Generic informationIn essence, a standard is an agreed way of doing something. A standard provides the requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used for the description, interoperability, citation, sharing, publication, or preservation of all kinds of digital objects such as data, code, algorithms, workflows, software, or papers.There are several types of standards that address different, but often complementary challenges. These include (but are not limited to), standards for:
- Data/result files and their associated contextual metadata - e.g. minimum reporting requirements, terminologies (controlled vocabularies, taxonomies, thesauri, ontologies), or file formats or conceptual models;
- Analysis - e.g., standardized descriptions of the software used and workflow descriptions;
- Code and algorithms that are employed, or software that has been developed- e.g., open version repositories and documentation; and
- The relationship between interpretations and conclusions to other digital concepts - e.g., through standardized bibliographic resources such as PubMed, but also via citation principles and practices for data and other research objects.
- from a specific scientific significance, or domain of study - e.g., neuroscience, stem cell),
- to the technology used to generate the datasets - e.g., imaging modality, mass spectrometry.
(Source: Sansone et al., 2013)Frankly, everyone involved in the life cycle of data or any digital object (even in software or workflow development) should at least be familiar with standards; this encompasses researchers, developers, curators, funders, journals, librarians, policy makers and trainers in all sectors, producing and using, managing, serving, curating, preserving, publishing or regulating data and/or other digital objects. In an ideal scenario, standards should be implemented by dedicated experts in tools, services and infrastructure and made ‘invisible’ to the users of these systems.The FAIR principles are a set of community-developed guidelines to ensure that data or any digital object are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reproducible. Distinct from peer initiatives that focus on the human scholar, the FAIR principles put a specific emphasis on enhancing the ability of machines to automatically find and use data or any digital object, in addition to supporting its reuse by individuals. Standards for the description, interoperability, citation etc. are at the core of these principles. As one of the groups facilitating the implementation of the FAIR principles, FAIRsharing abides by these principles and ensures that standards, as a type of digital object, are also Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reproducible. For more information we recommend the paper Interoperability Standards - Digital Objects in Their Own Right.
Focussing on data/metadata standards
Standards for data and their associated contextual/experimental metadata (essentially, data about the data) are also known as data standards, metadata standards or content standards. FAIRsharing currently focuses one 5 standard subtypes:
- Reporting guidelines or checklists outline the minimum information that should be reported alongside a experiment or dataset in order to place it into context. These vary from general guidance to itemised prescriptions of the information that should be provided, both in terms of data and associated metadata.
- Models/formats or syntax - define the representation of information from a conceptual model or schema, and the transmission format, such as XML, CSV or RDF, which facilitate information exchange.
- Terminology artefacts or semantics encompass controlled vocabularies, taxonomies, thesauri or ontologies and add an interpretive/translational layer (beyond any that might be provided by the syntax), and enable complex hierarchical grouping and querying of the data.
- Metrics are criteria to assesses some aspect of a digital resource, for example - but not limited to - its discoverability. For example, the FAIR Metrics are a set of machine-actionable criteria that allow the assessment of the level of FAIRness of a resource.
- Identifier schemata are formal systems for resources and other digital objects that allow their unique and unambiguous identification.
But there is no agreement on how to best categorize data/metadata standards, or how to name them or indeed, what even constitutes a standard. Nevertheless, in FAIRsharing we will progressively add more types and subtypes to ensure wider coverage. For example, we plan to add Common Data Elements (CDEs) as a fourth standard type. These are particularly used in biomedicine as there are often data element that are common to multiple data sets across different studies.Broadly, these standards allow data and its associated contextual/experimental metadata to be harmonized, with respect to structure, format and annotation. This opens their content to transparent interpretation, reuse, integrative analysis and comparison. Data and metadata standards are essential for the implementation of the FAIR principles.
Data and metadata standards are used and implemented by many stakeholders, communities, data services and resources in the public, private and governmental sectors for the collection, reporting, storage, publishing and dissemination of research information, and to make it more accessible to benefit the wider scientific community. Better standards = Better data and metadata = Better science!Standards developed by formal Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs), such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are de jure standards, in that they are formulated by surveying the market and assessing the need for a particular standard, and then creating a standard to fulfil that need. Grass-root efforts also develop standards that are commonly adopted, and generally not prescribed by an official or formal authority, such as an SDO. These are are known as de facto standards.There are a full panoply of stakeholders involved in these efforts - domain experts, technical experts (e.g. ontology engineers, data architects, software developers), government officials, librarians, data scientists, biocurators, software and lab equipment vendors, journal publishers and funders. Each are interested in different aspects of a particular standard and play different roles (e.g. provide use cases to inform the development of standards, implement in tools, endorse in policies) in different phases of its life cycle. The way these standardization groups are organized also varies by organization type, level of formality (e.g. some are legal entities, while the majority are ad hoc working groups), membership types (open and free, members only), operational approaches, and funding. The majority of grass-root efforts are either unfunded or minimally funded. Awareness of which groups are doing what is vital to a coordinated approach; and, since the activities of any group changes over time, such awareness must be continually updated.
(Source: Sansone et al., 2013)
Developing, contributing and using a data/metadata standardsA typical Standard life cycle has three phases:
Before answering this question, it’s important to bear in mind what data/metadata standards are for. They are meant to allow data and metadata to be harmonized in respect of structure, format and annotation. Therefore, if we are to realize their potential, we must avoid re-invention, as unnecessary diversion and fragmentation of standards result in incompatibility, which only adds to the existing challenges we face. Consequently, joining an existing effort must be the first option, to e.g. fill gaps in coverage, propose extensions or even repurpose an existing standard. Of course, considering the complexity of the general standard life cycle, the choice may not be so simple. If creating a new initiative is the most appropriate option, first and foremost be aware of the challenges ahead, then make an effort to link to related efforts, to ensure complementarity, propose mapping, conversions or harmonization of complementary or contrasting efforts.In FAIRsharing! As soon as you have a website/webpage page for your resource, with an appropriate contact email/list, we recommend you contact FAIRsharing ASAP to register your work with us from the outset. We make it very easy, just read the instructions here. Registering your data/metadata standard (or database or policy) is key to making it visible to others, including potential collaborators, users and adopters. Another benefit of registering your resource in FAIRsharing (other than getting credit) is to ensure that you control the information and description we serve to the public, to give them the best chance to discover your resource. You can link to the FAIRsharing record from your project/organizational website and vice-verse.
- Formulation - identification of a need (e.g. data exchange or reporting), collection of use cases (valuable for defining the breadth and depth of the requirements), definition of the scope (what the standard is supposed to address and what not), and prioritization of the work.
- Development - iterations of the work (usually by a core group), solicitation of feedback (on the various drafts) and requests for testing and evaluating the work.
- Maintenance - creation of implementations, documentation and education materials, address sustainability, evolution of the standards, including backward compatibility of each version.
If your resource is a terminology artifact (one of the standard types), we will also direct you to other specialized portals where you should also deposit the file(s) containing the ontology, taxonomy or other type of artifact. If your standard is a model/format or a reporting guideline, we suggest you to store the specification files and any related code and examples in a web-based, hosting service with version control, source code management, trackers and ideally unique identifiers; there are simple solutions like FigShare or Zenodo, and more complete systems like GitHub, depending on your need.One of the descriptors FAIRsharing provides for each standard, database or policy, is the support information, with links to tutorials, help mail, FAQs, and contact details, where available. You can also contact FAIRsharing directly about a resource and we will try to help. However, the best expert advice can only come from the community behind the resource themselves, so they should be the first port of call, if possible.
Finally, also be aware that (in general) there is lack of available training material for standards and in particular for those developed by grass-roots efforts.
Challenges with developing and using data/metadata standardsThere are several issues one needs to be aware of, depending if you are producer or consumer of standards. There is no simple answer, but here are some key points. There is no central authority for standards, or at least one that is recognized by all the parties involved; standards are fragmented, there are unnecessary duplications and gaps. If you create a standard, be aware that each step of the standards life cycle has both social and technical challenges. Extensive community liaison and stakeholder communication need to be managed and funded; rewards and incentives need to be identified for all contributors; invaluable feedback cycles need to be recorded, and the complex unpacking of stakeholders’ dynamics needs to be unpacked. These are all demanding tasks. Ownership of open standards can also be problematic, the legal framework to encourage their maintenance, contribution and evolution is very embryonic.
If you are a consumer of standards then you may not always be equipped to navigate, select or recommend the most appropriate standards, or you may come face-to-face with a dearth of domain-specific efforts, and see standards as burdensome and/or over-prescriptive. Implementing standards in tools/databases for ‘invisible use’, as it should be, is also not a trivial task. Developing data-related policies is also challenging. Policy makers often may not have the evidence to make informed decisions on which standards and/or databases they should recommended, to support data sharing, preservation and interoperability. Lastly, appropriate funding mechanisms are very rarely provided to support both the production and use of standards. As one may imagine, the challenges surrounding data/metadata standards extend well beyond these points.
However, every challenge is an opportunity, and FAIRsharing is here to help all standard producers and users get the best out of data/metadata standards.
(Source: Sansone and Rocca-Serra, 2012)FAIRsharing aims to provide links to supporting information, such as tutorials or practical papers, for each standard, database or policy. Unfortunately, there is lack of training material and training events for the development and use of standards, in particular for those developed by grass roots initiatives. Where training material and events are available, we ensure that these are deposited, linked to or listed in appropriate related portals.
Linking standards, databases and data policies, and to other resourcesBy interlinking standards, databases and policies, FAIRsharing guides users to discover existing databases and standards, to identify those standards that are implemented by databases, and to find the policies that refer to them. The latter two points also provide evidence of use and are important indicators when users select a standards or a database.
The relationships between standards, databases and policies are not a static but evolve over time (new links are added, others removed). FAIRsharing fulfills the essential job of mapping this dynamic landscape and in doing so helps a variety of users in their tasks. Examples include:
FAIRsharing links to terminology-specific portals such as BioPortal and the OBO Foundry, which have a different scope to FAIRsharing and provide complementary information. The OBO Foundry is a collective of ontology developers committed to collaboration and the adherence to shared principles to make ontologies interoperable. BioPortal is the world’s most comprehensive repository of (biomedical) terminologies, especially ontologies, with a set of tools for working with them. FAIRsharing links to BioPortal via a terminology browsing widget that is embedded in all terminology artifact standard records that have an equivalent record in BioPortal.Where possible, FAIRsharing links to tools relating to standards and databases, and provides links to training material, help documentation and other forms of support for each resource. Where training material is available in a dedicated portal, such as the ELIXIR TeSS Resource, we make reciprocal links.
- Researchers - to find journals that meet their funder requirements, journal standards, the specific needs for a data management plan, and to enable their data to be shared as widely as possible (as per funding and publication requirements).
- Publishers - to link from journals to repositories that meet the requirements as set down by their data policies and to meet any necessary content standards.
- Funders - to understand which journals and repositories meet their policies; and knowledge of the current landscape of community defined-standards and databases to refine their recommendations.
Developers and curators of repositories and standards - to ensure their products are discoverable
and well described so they can be:
- evaluated and recommended by journals and funders in their policies;
- used by researchers to meet their funder policies and the policies of the journals they wish to publish in; or reused and/or extended by other developers and curators, according to the products’ licence, to meet their specific needs.
Librarians to support scholars to:
- utilize data standards; and conform to journal, institutional, and funder policies;
- develop and maintain institutional data and publication repositories.
FAIRsharing is a community resource based at the University of Oxford, UK and driven by an international Advisory Board and thriving community user-base of researchers, informatics professionals, service providers, curators, library science experts, publishers, and funders. To ensure wider engagement and outreach, FAIRsharing also operates via a number of Working Groups including under Force11, Research Data Alliance, GO-FAIR, EOSC-Life, ELIXIR and other umbrella organisations.
The FAIRsharing Operational Team is closely embedded in and co-sponsored by several infrastructure programmes, including but not limited to the National Institutes of Health Big Data to Knowledge (NIH BD2K)’s metadata and data discovery centers, and ELIXIR, where FAIRsharing is officially recognized as a Recommended Interoperability Resource and a key component of the ELIXIR UK Node.
FAIRsharing works with the International Society for Biocuration (with whom FAIRsharing has collaborated to define the bioDBcore database description guidelines) and partners with several publishers and data journals. For example, the content of our Database registry is curated from a variety of journals, including the NAR database issue, and the journal Database. Other specific partnerships have also been established to ensure FAIRsharing is embedded in an ecosystem of other related but complementary resources, such as the UK's JISC journal research data policy registry pilot, the Equator Network and re3data.
For more information about our collaborations and activities, please see our community page.FAIRsharing, when originally created, stored records relating only to the biological sciences. We have since expanded our focus to incorporate standards, policies and databases from all disciplines following the FAIR principles. The original material from BioSharing is still maintained within FAIRsharing, along with new cross-disciplinary content.
Looking for guidance on standards, databases and policiesFAIRsharing is your one-stop shop if you are, for example, developing a data management plan, thanks to our links between standards, the databases that implement them, and the journal and funder policies that recommend their use.
Our database registry covers all databases and data repositories in the life, biomedical and environmental sciences. A growing number of repositories adopt standard formats or guidelines that they use to structure their data. Our standards registry covers these resources and links to the respective repositories, allowing the identification of standards that you need to use to prepare datasets for submission.
The links between our policies registry, which contains funder, journal and other organization’s data policies, and the standards and databases recommended by those policies, provides a further indication of which standards and databases to include in your data management plan, to meet the FAIR principles.
A good place to start browsing FAIRsharing is through our Collections, which group together standards, databases or policies by domain, project or organisation, or our Recommendations, which are standards and databases endorsed by journal, funders or other organizations.Do you need to find a standard format for representing a dataset? Perhaps you are deciding how to annotate a particular dataset and need to discover what ontologies are available and appropriate for your use? All this and more can be found via the FAIRsharing portal. Simple start searching or browse through the records to find out more. FAIRsharing can be used to explore the landscape of data and metadata standards, databases and data policies, in the life, biomedical and environmental sciences. Our databases registry covers all databases and data repositories across a number of disciplines. A growing number of repositories adopt standard formats or guidelines that they use to structure their data. Our standards registry covers these resources and links to respective repositories, allowing the identification of standards that you need to use to prepare datasets for submission.
The links between our policies registry, which contains funder, journal and other organization’s data policies, and the standards and databases recommended by those policies, provides a further indication of which standards and databases to include in your data management plan, to meet the FAIR principles.
A good place to start browsing FAIRsharing is through our Collections, which group together standards, databases or policies by domain, project or organisation, or our Recommendations, which are standards and databases endorsed by journal, funders or other organizations.FAIRsharing helps you to make your work more visible, more discoverable, and helps you to get credit for it. By registering your database or standard on FAIRsharing, you can gain increased exposure outside of your immediate community; follow our instructions here. Your resource will be more discoverable, particularly to journals, funders, librarians, researchers curators or data managers, who could recommend it to their community or use it themselves. The more adopted a resource is, the greater its visibility in FAIRsharing. For example, if your standard is implemented by a database, these two records will be interlinked; thus if someone is interested in that database they will also be able to look at the standards used. And vice-versa for databases. It is important therefore, that when you register your resource in FAIRsharing you also state these relations truthfully. Once your resource is registered, as the content grows and it is progressively interlinked, your database(s) and/or standard(s) could also be recommended in a data policy by journals, funders or other organizations. When this is the case, your resource gets a ‘recommended’ ribbon, which is clearly visible in the search results. The databases and/or standards recommended by a policy, are also displayed together in a dedicated set of pages, called a Recommendation.Looking for a simple and easy way to maintain an interrelated list of databases, standards? For example to group resources you want to recommend to your users or to cite in your data policy? FAIRsharing helps you to collate a group of standards and databases by creating a dedicated page of resources, called a Collection; follow our instructions here. This page is customizable with your name, logo and links to your website. However, if your set of databases and standards are recommended by your data policy, we can do more for you. Once you have registered your policy at FAIRsharing we will guide you to interlink it to the set of databases and standards you are interested into; then we create a dedicated page for your policy and related resources, called a Recommendation; this page is also customizable.Looking for a simple and easy way to maintain an interrelated list of databases and/or standards? For example, to group resources that you fund (or would consider funding), or that you recommend in your data policy, or that awardees should consider when writing their data management plan? FAIRsharing helps you to list this group of standards and databases by creating a dedicated page of resource that we call a Collection; follow our instructions here. This page is customizable with your name, logo and links to your website. However, if your set of databases and standards are recommended by your data policy, we can do more for you. Once you have registered your policy at FAIRsharing we will help you interlink it to the set of databases and standards you are interested in; then we create a dedicated, customizable page for your policy and related resources, called a Recommendation.
Do you still wonder what benefits our Collections or Recommendations add to the list of resources you already maintain on your website perhaps? In our experience, these lists are not updated frequently, or are not as comprehensive as they could be. There is a wealth of standards and databases: which ones are active, or have been superseded by others, or are there new one being developed, or who else has recommended a given resource, etc.? All standards and databases in a Recommendation get a ‘recommended’ ribbon, which allows you to see which other policy has recommended the same resources. Tracking the evolution, interrelations and adoption of standards and databases in policies is what FAIRsharing does; therefore maintaining your list of recommended resources as a Collections or Recommendations in FAIRsharing (and not just on your website) will allow us to alert you of any changes for you to consider updating your policy.
Search functionalities to help find what you needThe main search box on the homepage, also accessible in the navbar at the top of every page on FAIRsharing, performs a free text search across every field of every record in FAIRsharing. The main search box should be the first port of call for users accessing FAIRsharing. Also, if you do not enter any text and just click the search button you get an integrated view of all standards, databases and data policies at once.Our step-by-step wizard guides users through the process of searching the three registries of standards, databases, and data policies, refining the search via data type, scope and species. Users should employ the wizard when they are unsure as to what to look for, or if they simply want to browse the data in a more stepwise manner.If you haven’t started your search yet, you can use our Advanced Search Tool to precisely search across a number of fields. If you already have a set of search results, or would prefer to browse your way to a refined list, our faceted search menu, present on the left hand side of every search result or browse page, allows the iterative refinement of the results by domain, species, funder, country or subtype, until the search results are narrowed sufficiently.If the main search box is providing too many hits, or you simply want to be more precise, access the Advanced Search Tool. This tool allows field-specific searching across all of the records in FAIRsharing (including Collections and Recommendations). Several fields are currently available through the tool, including a field-specific search on the full name of the resource, species, data types and scope covered, funder(s), content licence(s) and countries involved. Many of these fields contain structured data, allowing autocomplete on your search. Simply start typing and after 3 characters any terms within that field containing those characters will be returned in a drop-down scrollable list. The Advanced Search Tool should be used by users when they want to perform a more precise, targeted search.Regardless of the search options you use, we serve the results in either a Table or Grid view. The default view is a table that allows an at-a-glance view of the relationships between standards, databases and policies and their use in Collections or Recommendations. On the left hand side menu, there is an option to switch to a Grid view, and select how to sort and filter the results, according to domain, funding agency etc.
Indicators and descriptors to help you selecting resourcesEach record in the FAIRsharing standards registry contains different indicators and descriptors. There are 2 types of indicators: a set of tags indicating the readiness of that resource for implementation or use, and a ‘recommended’ ribbon, if the standard is recommended by a data policy by journals, funders and other organizations.
The 46 descriptors are grouped into sections, but not all are compulsory or indeed appropriate for every standard. Here is an example of a record describing a standard we will use as an example to illustrate the information we provide. At the top of every standard record, as at the top of every record in FAIRsharing, there is a URL linking to the homepage of the resource, and a short free text description. Below this, there is country and taxonomy information, curated using a controlled set of tags based on the list of country names provided by the United Nations and the NCBI Taxonomy. The data types and scope covered by the standard are summarised using a community-generated set of tags. Below the top section of the record, there are a number of sections relating to the support information about the resource (e.g. tutorials, help mail, FAQs), contact details, publications, and the tools and web services available from the database. The credit section of the record details the group or organisation behind the resource, and grant or funding information. This section also contains a link to the maintainer of the record (where available). This maintainer is someone associated with the resource itself, and is able to edit and update the record directly (more information about becoming a maintainer and community curation can be found in the community curation section below). Where possible, we also include a link to the standard schema itself. Some records have fewer fields completed than others. This can often be due to some fields not being appropriate for certain resources (e.g. perhaps there isn’t a publication associated with a database) By collating this information into one resource, and augmenting it with links to our database and policy registries, the FAIRsharing standard registry is the most comprehensive catalogue of content and identifier/citation standards available today.Each record in FAIRsharing databases registry contains different indicators and descriptors. There are 2 types of indicators: a set of tags indicating the readiness of that resource for implementation or use, and a ‘recommended’ ribbon, if the database is recommended by a data policy by journals, funders and other organizations.
The descriptors follow the BioDBcore guidelines, which FAIRsharing co-developed with the International Society for Biocuration. These guidelines are a community-defined, uniform, generic description of the core attributes of a biological database. We encourages and drives database developers/biocurators to follow these guidelines when submitting or editing their records. Here is an example of a record describing a database we will use as an example to illustrate the information we provide. At the top of the record, as with all records in FAIRsharing, there is a URL linking to the homepage of the resource, and a short free text description. Below this, there is country and taxonomy information, curated using a controlled set of tags based on the list of country names provided by the United Nations and the NCBI Taxonomy. The data types and scope covered by the standard are summarised using a community-generated set of tags. Below the top section of the record, there are a number of sections relating to the support information about the resource (e.g. tutorials, help mail, FAQs), contact details, publications, and the tools and web services available from the database. The credit section of the record details the group or organisation behind the resource, and grant or funding information. This section also contains a link to the maintainer of the record (where available). This maintainer is someone associated with the resource itself, and is able to edit and update the record directly (more information about becoming a maintainer and community curation can be found in the community curation section below). Some records have fewer fields completed than others. This can often be due to some fields not being appropriate for certain resources (e.g. perhaps there isn’t a publication associated with a database) By collating this information into one resource, and augmenting it with links to our standard and policy registries, the FAIRsharing database registry is the most comprehensive catalogue of databases, data repositories and knowledgebases available today.FAIRsharing progressively collates information on data policies from journal publishers, regulatory agencies, funding bodies and other organizations. We focus on policies surrounding data deposition, sharing, management and preservation. Our policy registry has been compiled in collaboration with the UK'sJISC journal research data policy registry pilot. Here is an example of a record describing a policy. We house information on the organisation behind the data policy, the year of implementation, contact information, the domains and species for which the policy is intended, and links to the databases and standards endorsed or endorsed in the data policy. When these policies refer to particular standards or databases, a Recommendation is created. This allows us to display those recommended resources together in one place. We also label these standards and databases with a ‘recommended’ ribbon, so they are clearly visible when they appear in search results.Every standard and database record on FAIRsharing is annotated with a tag indicating the readiness of that resource for implementation or use. Currently we have four indicators, outlined below, that can be found in the top left of each record or record card when viewed in the search results.
Simply view our Recommendations, which groups standards and databases recommended by a policy by journals, funders or other organizations. But if you are browsing FAIRsharing content there are also two more ways to identify these resources. If you are using the Grid view, look for records that display a ‘recommended’ ribbon; if you are using the Table view, look if the Recommendation column has any value in it.
- R = ready for use, implementation, or recommendation; the majority of our records have this tag; see this example of a mature resource that is also recommended by several data policies.
- Dev = in development. Perhaps a standard or database is being actively developed but isn’t quite ready for use; see this example.
- U = status uncertain. When we are unsure as to whether a resource is in development, active or deprecated, or any attempt to reach out the developers has failed, we mark a resource as uncertain; see this example. If you see a resource that we have labelled uncertain, and you know the status or you are the community behind that resource, please contact us.
- D = Deprecated. When we know as a fact that a resource is no longer maintained or active, the record for that resource is tagged as deprecated. We add a note to these records to give the reason for the deprecation, if known. Often, a record may be deprecated as the resource has been superseded by another resource. If this is the case, we add a link to the extant record, see this example.
Please, note that this is work in progress, as we keep adding more policies to FAIRsharing more standards and databases may get this ribbon.Every database record on FAIRsharing has a section called Related Standards; if standards are implemented their name is displayed here, linked to the records for the standards themselves. Similarly standard records have a section called Implementing Databases. Furthemore, if you are browsing FAIRsharing content both our Grid and Table views show if a database implement a standards and which one, or vice-versa. Please, note that this is work in progress, as we keep adding more policies to FAIRsharing more standards and databases may get this ribbon.A Collection groups together one or more types of resource (standard, database or policy) by domain, project or organisation; see this example for more information. Each Collection page is customizable with the name and logo of the entity that creates and maintain the list and also includes a description explaining the motivation and coverage of the Collection, with links to the entity’s website. To create a Collection, please follow our instructions here.A Recommendation is a core-set of resources that are selected or endorsed by data policies from journals, funders or other organizations; see this example for more information. Each Recommendation page is customizable with the name and logo of the entity that creates and maintain the list and also includes a description explaining the motivation and coverage of the Recommendation, with links to the entity’s website. To create a Recommendation, please follow our instructions here.
Add new and maintain existing recordsCreate an account and login. You can register a new standard, database or policy if you are the (named) representative of that resource; follow our instructions here. We recommend that you add your ORCID identifier to the account, so we can unambiguously link you to the record. We also recommend that you use a group email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org, rather than your personal address where possible, as a contact for the resources. We are conscious that someone’s involvement in a resource may be time-limited, and having a stable contact address is vital for prospective users. Select the type and subtype of record you would like to add (database, standard or policy) and complete the submission form, as comprehensively as possible.
After you submit the new record, the FAIRsharing team will perform a few sanity checks on your record and contact you if we need more information. Once approved, the record will be visible on FAIRsharing, alongside your name as the maintainer of the record. Once your resource is registered, the FAIRsharing team will take care of ensuring this is also progressively interlinked to other resources.It couldn’t be easier. You can claiming a standard, database or policy if you are the (named) representative of that resource; follow our instructions here. Your task is to help the FAIRsharing team to ensure the information is correct and up-to-date, and your name will appear as the maintainer of the record. Once you have an account on FAIRsharing, simply find the record you wish to claim and click the ‘Claim Ownership' button in the top right hand corner; you will be directed to create an account or to sign in if you already have one. The FAIRsharing team will quickly perform a few sanity checks and add any outstanding links and confirm your ownership of the record.Once you have an account on FAIRsharing and have claimed a resource you can also edit it; follow our instructions here. Simply find the relevant record and click the edit button in the top right hand side of the record. This will take you to the edit page. For information on how to edit each field in the record, hover over the green ‘?’ next to every field with your mouse pointer. If this isn’t enough, please contact our knowledge engineers using the feedback button at the top of this page.
Access to and citation of our code and content
If you have used FAIRsharing or BioSharing during the course of your work, please cite our FAIRSharing paper:
Sansone, S.-A., McQuilton, P., Rocca-Serra, P., Gonzalez-Beltran, A., Izzo, M., Lister, A.L. and Thurston, M. (2019) FAIRsharing as a community approach to standards, repositories and policies. Nature biotechnology, 37, 358: 10.1038/s41587-019-0080-8.
When referring directly to the website, please cite the following URL: https://www.FAIRsharing.org
Once a FAIRsharing record has a maintainer and the metadata on that record is relatively complete and stable, it is granted a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). This allows citation of the FAIRsharing metadata record for that resource. This can be useful when citing a particular aspect of a resource or if the resource itself is a standard without an active homepage or community.
If a record does not have a maintainer from the community, the record can be cited using a FAIRsharing identifier. These identifiers are unique and persistent and have the following format:FAIRsharing content is licensed via the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license 4.0 (CC BY-SA 4.0).We have a read-only API which offers access to selected fields from Standards, Databases and Policies, which can be found here. To access this API you'll need to contact us to discuss your requirements and to obtain a key. The API will progressively grow in functionality in line with requests from our user community, and more documentation will be added on how it can be used.