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FAIRsharing and FAIR Cookbook to enhance the coordination of FAIR for COVID-19 response and beyond

Oxford e-Research Centre led FAIR-enabling resources among core set of tools highlighted by an independent expert report to the European Commission

Maximising investments in health research: FAIR data forca coordinated COVID-19 response

Maximising investments in health research: FAIR data for a coordinated COVID-19 response

The magnitude and coordination of the research and public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented. The European Union (EU) acted quickly to support the research response to COVID-19 through a series of Horizon 2020 funding calls, amongst other support mechanisms. However, challenges remain to enabling data that is findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable, according to the FAIR Principles. Data is still siloed by type, geography, and population; there is limited sharing of data related to peer-reviewed manuscripts and preprints; there are many concerns about data quality and reporting; as well as ethical, legal, and social implications which slow down or even prevent data reuse.

To address this, in October and November of 2021, the European Commission (EC) hosted a series of three workshops, which brought together over 300 participants to identify priorities for action on FAIR data for COVID-19 response and to propose recommendations for EU-funded projects and infrastructures for health data reuse and the EC itself. An independent expert report to the Europe Commission is the result of these events and of a wider consultation.

“I was delighted to be invited to present on our FAIRsharing and the FAIR Cookbook, two global initiatives that address the glaring gap in providing guidance to researchers, data stewards and also funders, on how to put FAIR into practice”

says Professor Susanna-Assunta Sansone, Professor of Data Readiness and Associate Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre.

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a clear incentive to fast- track the implementation of FAIR, which still requires significant resource and skills and culture change. Implementing FAIR data is a long-term investment that also needs systematic budgeting for FAIR in EU-funded research and infrastructure projects and by the EC itself.

Via our participation in interdisciplinary EU projects like BY-COVID, which unites life science, medical, policy, social science and public health experts, we work to address pandemic preparedness from the data readiness point of view”

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