Enabling FAIR Data in the Earth sciences

Last week I was proud to announce the endorsement of the “Enabling FAIR Data in the Earth, space and environment sciences” initiative by Nature and Scientific Data as convened by the American Geophysical Union in partnership with the Research Data Alliance and Earth Science Information Partners.

Jan 24, 2019
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The initiative’s objective is to make research data available in accordance to FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) through community and general repositories. The effort is supported by a wider network of institutions, publishers, data repositories and communities.

Nature has supported the “open data movement” since 2015 through its participation in the Coalition for Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS), encouraging authors in Earth sciences to “open their data to the world”. As such Nature had already been aligned with the general spirit of Enabling FAIR Data for some time and are in great position to support this community effort through the broad internal research data expertise available and the specialised services provided such as the Research Helpdesk and the Research Data Support services which are here to assist with adherence to the new policy. In addition Scientific Data will provide authors and editors with expanded and up to date lists of data repositories in Earth sciences to ensure they have all the right options at hand. One of the people that played an integral role in bringing this effort to life is John VanDecar who represented Naturejournals at the Enabling FAIR Data workshops.

A majority of Earth science researchers publishing in a six month span in 2018 have shared their data in public repositories as an audit of data availability statements of Nature Earth science papers showed. As such the transition to this new policy should be fairly easy to follow. Data sharing is essential to advancing transparent reproducible research practices and credit data generation, so we are confident that this new effort will have a significant impact in further advancing discovery. 

Sowmya Swaminathan

Head of Editorial Policy, Nature Research

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