A new report from FAIRsFAIR outlines a proposal to improve cross-disciplinary FAIR uptake amongst key EU-funded projects.
The report is D3.6 Proposal on integration of metadata catalogues to support cross-disciplinary FAIR uptake, and the authors, Eva Méndez, Tony Hernandez, Angus Whyte, and Joy Davidson describe a pilot project to integrate the metadata of the five "ESFRI cluster projects" EOSC-Life, PaNOSC, SSHOC, ENVRIFAIR, and ESCAPE. Respectively, these projects represent the life science, photon & neutron, social science & humanities, environmental research, and astrophysics domains.
Proceeding from a rigorous analysis of the different concepts of (meta)data catalogues across the domain-specific research data infrastructures and research data repositories which constitute each cluster, the report explores the diversity of specific, domain-dependent metadata standards, vocabularies, and semantic artifacts represented within the clusters. The authors then describe the importance of metadata standards and vocabularies for improving the FAIRness of research data collections.
Seamless access to, and re-use of FAIR scientific data by researchers at large, cross-disciplines, requires common data models and appropriate domain-agnostic metadata schemas, and vocabularies. The Scientific Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) for EOSC reflected the transition of the European science system. It seeks to establish a multi-stakeholder European partnership to enhance the circulation of research data and knowledge in digital form across borders and disciplines, and to allow scientists and machines to collaborate in creating, storing, processing, finding, accessing, and reusing scientific data. This new system must therefore “be the sharing and reuse of data and metadata across all scientific disciplines”.
Having described the complex challenge of facilitating cross-disciplinary data discovery, and the plethora of approaches and metadata standards in use, the authors then define a pilot proposal to test (meta)data catalogue integration across the five disciplines represented by the ESFRI cluster projects. The pilot will have a four month duration to March 2021 and will be divided into three phases. Two domain-agnostic metadata standards, DCATv2-DCATAP and DDI-CDI, will be used with B2FIND as the service provider.
During the pilot, FAIRsFAIR and representatives from the ESFRI cluster projects, DCAT, DDI-CDI), and B2FIND will develop an assessment framework to enable a comparison of the two approaches from the domain perspective and also from the aggregator perspective.
At least two virtual workshops will be held during the pilot to bring together the participants to discuss their experiences and to provide insights into the feasibility of the approaches. The results of the pilot will be shared in D3.7 ‘Report on integration of metadata catalogues’ in August 2021 along with recommendations for wider adoption.