Explain! FAIR Principles

The FAIR Principles are intended to provide guidelines to improve the findability, accessibility, interoperability and reuse of digital assets. Important is the emphasis on machine-readability. They were first published in Scientific Data in 2016 as “FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship“.

The FAIR principles


  • F1. (Meta)data are assigned a globally unique and persistent identifier
  • 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


  • A1. (Meta)data are retrievable by their identifier using a standardised communications 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 are accessible, even when the data are no longer available


  • I1. (Meta)data use a formal, accessible, shared, and broadly applicable language for knowledge representation
  • I2. (Meta)data use vocabularies that follow the FAIR principles
  • I3. (Meta)data include qualified references to other (meta)data


  • R1. Meta(data) are richly described with a plurality of accurate and relevant attributes
  • R1.1. Meta(data) are released with clear and accessible data usage license
  • R1.2. Meta(data) are associated with detailed provenance
  • R1.3. Meta(data) meet domain-relevant community standards

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