FAIR Principles for research software article now online

Working in the research software field, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn’t yet familiar with the FAIR principles. Making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) is fundamental to our work at The Netherlands eScience Center. As a national centre of research software expertise, developing open and sustainable research software is part of our DNA.

FAIR Data text on a world map

The FAIR principles were originally developed for ‘scientific data management and stewardship’ in 2016 and focused on scientific data in general. The recognition and adaptation of the principles has been growing over the years, but at the same time some of its limitations have come to light.

As the FAIR principles have been growing in importance, it became clear they needed to be tailored to make them adaptable to research software. Software has different needs and presents different challenges in making it FAIR. As one of the lead authors, Daniel S. Katz explains in his blog post: “Research software is not just another kind of research data, but has distinct properties and a distinct ecosystem in which it is created, used, and distributed, distinct principles are needed to make it FAIR.”

“Research software is not just another kind of research data, but has distinct properties and a distinct ecosystem in which it is created, used, and distributed, distinct principles are needed to make it FAIR.”  

Daniel S. Katz

To address these challenges, the FAIR Principles for Research Software (FAIR4RS) working group, has now published a paper in Nature Scientific Data explaining how the original principles can be adapted to fit research software, and how they can be implemented by organizations, maximizing the value of their research outputs. This paper follows an earlier publication on the adapted principles themselves.

The working group is a collaboration between three organisations: Research Software Alliance (ReSA), Research Data Alliance (RDA) and FORCE11. Our colleague Carlos Martinez is one of the authors and has been involved from the beginning as co-chair of the working group. Many other eScience Center colleagues were also involved and contributed during the consultation process.

As a national centre of research software expertise, promoting reusability of research software and building software that is reusable is always high on the Netherlands eScience Center’s agenda, as can be seen in many of our other efforts also working towards this vision: our work on Software Management Plans, our Digital Skills Programme, the Fair Software website, and our Howfairis tool. We are proud to continue working towards a solid foundation for the future of FAIR4RS!

Read Introducing the FAIR Principles for research software in full online. (cite as: Barker, M., Chue Hong, N.P., Katz, D.S. et al. Introducing the FAIR Principles for research software. Sci Data 9, 622 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-022-01710-x

Follow updates by using #FAIR4RS and continue to add resources to the FAIR4RS community in Zenodo.