Towards a European network of FAIR-enabling Trustworthy Digital Repositories

FAIR is on everyone's lips but making it possible requires expertise and professional development opportunities for the actors working with digital research data. Individual research data repositories would greatly benefit of a larger, community-driven network of similar actors as a shared knowledge resource and source of peer support.

Recently, the need for such a network has also become clear in EU research infrastructure projects, which aimed to increase the FAIR maturity of European data repositories and support their certification as trustworthy custodians of digital research data. The recently published working paper Towards a European network of FAIR-enabling Trustworthy Digital Repositories (TDRs) brings together a vision of how the Network could be based on the community’s needs and its most important functions: Knowledge exchange and networking, stakeholder advocacy and engagement, particularly in terms of policies and funding, and coordination and development, especially within the EOSC.

The exact activities hosted under these umbrella functions could address a wide range of topics that are important to TDRs. The working paper also describes the functionalities needed to start the Network's operation, such as membership and business and governance models.

This working paper is a bottom-up initiative of a group of stakeholders in the European repository community. It was created in close connection with the wider community and building on community-wide feedback. Mari Kleemola, head of FSD’s projects and development team, is one of the authors. The initiative originates from the January 2022 workshop around the creation of a European network of FAIR-enabling Trustworthy Digital Repositories, where many participants expressed their willingness to join such a network. The workshop was a joint effort of three EU infrastructure projects. FSD was involved in all projects and coordinated work packages in two of them (SSHOC and EOSC-Nordic). The purpose of these work packages was to measure and increase FAIR maturity and improve the processes and documentation of the participating repositories to meet the requirements of the CoreTrustSeal certificate.

The published paper will serve as input to the EOSC Task Force on Long Term Digital Preservation. One of the core tasks of this Task Force is to produce recommendations on the creation of such a network. The goal of EOSC (European Open Science Cloud) is ultimately to develop a “Web of FAIR Data and services” for science upon which a wide range of value-added services can be built. The ambition is to provide European researchers, innovators, companies, and citizens with a federated and open multi-disciplinary environment where they can publish, find, and reuse data, tools and services for research, innovation, and education purposes.