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FAIR data: Findable

Findable - what does the term mean?

The overall idea of Findable is that (meta)data should be easy to locate for both humans and computers. In order to make sure that your research data can be discovered by others, it is recommended that you register the (meta)data in a searchable resource. According to the FAIR principles, others should be able to read about your data even if they cannot access it (due to legal or ethical obligations, for example).

Below, you will find a short introduction, along with a list of the four principles of Findable.

Questions about FAIR?

Please contact us at forskersupport@kb.dk. You can also get in touch via eScience Services at Roskilde University's service portal (requires RUC login).

What are the principles of Findable?

F1: (Meta)data are assigned globally unique and persistent identifiers

F2:  Data are described with rich metadata

F3:  Metadata clearly and explicitly include the identifier of the data they describe

F4: (Meta)data are registered or indexed in a searchable resource

Visit GoFAIR’s website to read about the principles in detail.

Read more

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 read about storing and sharing (meta)data in repositories, as well as where to find generic and discipline-specific repositories. Here you will also find a definition of DOIs, metadata and other concepts used in research data management and FAIR.

Roskilde University recommends that you register metadata about your research data in Pure. To find out more, please read our guide about how to register metadata in Pure.

How do you make (meta)data Findable?

Repository: For others to be able to locate your (meta)data, the (meta)data must be registered in a searchable resource such as a research data repository. Repositories are digital services where metadata and datasets can be uploaded, preserved and shared with others. Often, repositories use a common standard to describe the data, allowing search engines to harvest and index the registries and, in turn, making sure that information about the (meta)data is widely available. 

Persistent identifiers (PIDs): Attaching a persistent identifier (such as a DOI (Digital Object Identifier)) to your (meta)data means that others can easily locate it online. Unlike URLs, PIDs are stable references, which point to an exact location in cyberspace, both now and in the future. Persistent identifiers are often assigned to the (meta)data automatically when you register it in a repository (but do make sure that you check before choosing a repository). In addition to locating your data, PIDs are an easy way for others to cite the data – much like articles in scientific journals. 

Image: https://book.fosteropenscience.eu/ 

Metadata: A key step in making your data FAIR is to publish metadata about the data in a repository so others can read about it. This also applies to datasets that cannot be shared publicly. It is often by reading the metadata that others are able to determine whether your research is relevant to their work. The metadata you provide about your data should therefore be generous and extensive, offering descriptive information about aspects such as the context, quality and condition, as well as abstract and keywords. 

Include a reference to the data in the metadata: The metadata should always include a reference to the data they describe – i.e. the persistent identifier that was assigned to the data when it was deposited in a repository. This is to clarify that the two entities are associated and to ensure that the data described in the metadata can be found by both humans and computers.