COMBINE 2019, EU-STANDS4PM, Heidelberg, Germany 18 July 2019
FAIR: Findable Accessable Interoperable Reusable. The “FAIR Principles” for research data, software, computational workflows, scripts, or any other kind of Research Object one can think of, is now a mantra; a method; a meme; a myth; a mystery. FAIR is about supporting and tracking the flow and availability of data across research organisations and the portability and sustainability of processing methods to enable transparent and reproducible results. All this is within the context of a bottom up society of collaborating (or burdened?) scientists, a top down collective of compliance-focused funders and policy makers and an in-the-middle posse of e-infrastructure providers.
Making the FAIR principles a reality is tricky. They are aspirations not standards. They are multi-dimensional and dependent on context such as the sensitivity and availability of the data and methods. We already see a jungle of projects, initiatives and programmes wrestling with the challenges. FAIR efforts have particularly focused on the “last mile” – “FAIRifying” destination community archive repositories and measuring their “compliance” to FAIR metrics (or less controversially “indicators”). But what about FAIR at the first mile, at source and how do we help Alice and Bob with their (secure) data management? If we tackle the FAIR first and last mile, what about the FAIR middle? What about FAIR beyond just data – like exchanging and reusing pipelines for precision medicine?
Since 2008 the FAIRDOM collaboration  has worked on FAIR asset management and the development of a FAIR asset Commons for multi-partner researcher projects , initially in the Systems Biology field. Since 2016 we have been working with the BioCompute Object Partnership  on standardising computational records of HTS precision medicine pipelines.
So, using our FAIRDOM and BioCompute Object binoculars let’s go on a FAIR safari! Let’s peruse the ecosystem, observe the different herds and reflect what where we are for FAIR personalised medicine.