The second step in making research data FAIR focuses on how data and metadata are accessible to others. Accessible does not mean that all research data have to be fully open to everyone but simply that the data – or the metadata if you are not allowed to share the data – is stored in a place where others can read about it and/or retrieve it.
Read below to find out about the four principles of Accessible, as well as some guidelines to help you get started.
A1: (Meta)data are retrievable by their identifier using a standardised communication protocol
A1.1: The protocol is open, free and universally implementable
A1.2: The protocol allows for an authentication and authorisation procedure where necessary
A2: Metadata should be accessible even when the data is no longer available
Visit GoFAIR’s website to read about the principles in detail.
Roskilde University does not have an institutional repository, but numerous generic and discipline-specific repositories are available online. Please consult our LibGuide about data management to find more information about research data repositories. Here you can also read about various other aspects of managing research data.
Repository: Research data should be deposited in a research data repository. If you are not able to make your data fully open to everyone (e.g. because of ethical or legal requirements), you can publish the metadata in a repository instead. Remember to clarify in the metadata whether and, if so, how others can retrieve the data.
List of terms and conditions: When registering the (meta)data in a repository, you should list the exact conditions for accessing the data. If making the data available to everyone is not an option, you may consider giving individual users access upon personal request (e.g. for research purposes). Ideally, the conditions are specified in a way that both humans and computers can read and understand the requirements.
Standardised and open protocol: Access should be provided through a standardised protocol (usually http(s) or FTP (File Transfer Protocol)). Standardised protocols are commonly used when the (meta)data is deposited in a trusted repository. The protocol should be open and free of charge to facilitate data retrieval. At a minimum, anyone with a computer and access to the Internet should be able to retrieve the metadata.
Long-term availability of metadata: Even when the dataset no longer exists, the metadata should still be available so others can locate and read about the data. Metadata are valuable in and of themselves, allowing researchers to track down people, institutions or publications associated with the original research.