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Research Data

A guide for locating, managing, and sharing research data.

Research Data & Scholarly Communications Lead

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Jess Newman
she | her
Assistant Professor
Research Data & Scholarly Communications Lead
UTHSC Health Sciences Library
Lamar Alexander Building
877 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163

FAIR Data Principals

Making your data FAIR:

Adhering to the FAIR Data Principles will greatly improve the accessibility, usability, and attribution of your (meta)data. The 'FAIR Guiding Principals for scientific data management and stewardship' facilitate (meta)data findability, accessibility, interoperability and reuse of digital assets, largely through the use of quality metadata and persistent identifiers.


Best Practices

documenting your data

choosing appropriate file formats

adding metadata

giving access to the data

licensing the data

adding a persistent identifier


TO BE FINDABLE: "means that the data can be discovered by both humans and machines, for instance by exposing meaningful machine-actionable metadata and keywords to search engines and research data catalogues. The data are referenced with unique and persistent identifiers (e.g. DOIs or Handles) and the metadata include the identifier of the data they describe." (

F1. (meta)data are assigned a globally unique and eternally persistent identifier.

F2. data are described with rich metadata.

F3. (meta)data are registered or indexed in a searchable resource.

F4. metadata specify the data identifier.


TO BE ACCESSIBLE: "means that the data are archived in long-term storage and can be made available using standard technical procedures. This does not mean that the data have to be openly available for everyone, but information on how the data could be retrieved (or not) has to be available. For example, data can be marked “Access only with explicit permission from the author” and include the author’s contact details. Ideally, though, the information about data accessibility can also be read by machines, e.g. by way of machine-readable standard licences."

A1. (meta)data are retrievable by their identifier using a standardized communications protocol.

A1.1 the protocol is open, free, and universally implementable.

A1.2 the protocol allows for an authentication and authorization procedure, where necessary.

A2. metadata are accessible, even when the data are no longer available.


TO BE INTEROPERABLE: "means that the data can be exchanged and used across different applications and systems — also in the future, for example, by using open file formats. It also means that the data can be integrated with other data from the same research field or data from other research fields. This is made possible by using metadata standards, standard ontologies, and controlled vocabularies as well as meaningful links between the data and related digital research objects."

I1. (meta)data use a formal, accessible, shared, and broadly applicable language for knowledge representation.

I2. (meta)data use vocabularies that follow FAIR principles.

I3. (meta)data include qualified references to other (meta)data.


TO BE RE-USABLE: "means that the data are well documented and curated and provide rich information about the context of data creation. The data should conform to community standards and include clear terms and conditions on how the data may be accessed and reused, preferably by applying machine-readable standard licences. This allows others either to assess and validate the results of the original study, thus ensuring data reproducibility, or to design new projects based on the original results, in other words data reuse in the stricter sense. Reusable data encourage collaboration and avoid duplication of effort. "

R1. meta(data) have a plurality of accurate and relevant attributes.

R1.1. (meta)data are released with a clear and accessible data usage license.

R1.2. (meta)data are associated with their provenance.

R1.3. (meta)data meet domain-relevant community standards.


Additional Resources