Scientific Papers


IMDIS 2021 conference (International Conference on Marine Data and Information Systems)

The FAIR principles provide guidelines for the publication of digital resources such as datasets, code, workflows, and research objects aiming at making them Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable(1). Amongst them, the I of the FAIR promotes interoperability and more specifically principle I2 suggests that metadata should use vocabularies that themselves follow the FAIR principles. Recently, FAIRsFAIR1 project officially published a first iteration of recommendations for making vocabularies FAIR (2). These recommendations include 17 general recommendations aligned with the different FAIR Principles and 10 Best Practice recommendations. The main objective of these recommendations is to provide a set of guidelines for creating a harmonised and interoperable semantic landscape easing the use and reuse of semantic artefacts from multiple different scientific domains.

The NERC Vocabulary Server (NVS) is an operational service, managed as a shared resource by the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) according to rigorous content governance principles (3). Since the 17 general FAIRsFAIR recommendations will impact terminology providers we volunteered in examining them from an operational terminology service point of view and in this presentation we will share our experience and findings.

The initiative behind this assessment stems from our commitment to serve the marine community with up-to-date and FAIR semantics. Since its inception NVS has undergone incremental enhancements in its model including publishing the versioning of its concepts, the provenance of mappings, allowing interaction via github, being listed in registries like In this work, we wish to evaluate the level of compliance of NVS to the FAIR principles according to this first set of
recommendations as depicted in Figure 1. Our goal is to help shape the FAIR Semantics recommendations through the lens of a pragmatic approach applied to an existing, well established and operational terminology service.

For this purpose, we are working in partnership with the FAIRsFAIR project that drafted the recommendations, within an international context involving initiatives such as the GO FAIR Inter implementation network2, the fairsharing.org3 community, the Research Data Alliance (RDA) Vocabulary Semantic Services Interest Group (VSSIG)4 and other terminology providers. In order to coordinate these various initiatives, a Task Group (TG) is being set up under the umbrella of the RDA VSSIG to focus on the evaluation of the FAIR Semantics recommendations with respect to semantic artefact services (i.e. repositories and registries). The TG will be used as a platform for collaboration and discussions on the topic.