Why should we care about FAIR?





Research data, Humanities, Open science, FAIR data



For a long while, Open Access to publications was the key focus of the Open Science agenda, but suddenly, everyone is talking about data and other research outputs. What are these? Why should we pay attention to them? What’s the difference between FAIR data and Open data, and why should scholars care about any of this? These are the kinds of questions that have been floating around as funders like the European Commission start to mandate the sharing of data, software, and other outputs that support publications. And while the drive towards FAIR sharing is meant to be applied across all research domains and disciplines, the discussion often focuses on ‘big data’ or data from the natural sciences, collected in laboratories or processed on high performance super computers. Where does this leave humanities scholars? What kinds of data and other research outputs are created here? What considerations are particular to the humanities?

In February 2020, after an open consultation process that received over 200 comments plus a number of multi-page submissions, ALLEA published “Sustainable and FAIR Data Sharing in the Humanities: Recommendations of the ALLEA Working Group E-Humanities", https://doi.org/10.7486/DRI.tq582c863. The report is structured around the research data lifecycle, providing concrete recommendations for sustainable FAIR sharing. This talk will highlight some of the key challenges faced by humanities scholars in this realm, look to where alliances can be built outside of academia, and dive into the dissemination possibilities that are created through the FAIR sharing of humanities research data.

Author Biography

Natalie Harrower, Digital Repository of Ireland

Dr. Natalie Harrower is Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland, a certified national infrastructure for Ireland’s arts, social sciences and humanities data. Actively involved in developing the open science agenda in Ireland and internationally, Dr. Harrower is a member of the EOSC working group on FAIR and the European Commission’s FAIR data expert group, which published the influential Turning FAIR into Reality at the launch of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

With strong connections across the repositories, HSS data and GLAM sectors, Dr. Harrower chairs the ALLEA (All European Academies) E-Humanities Working Group, and is currently a co-chair of the Research Data Alliance COVID-19 working group, which recently published guidelines for global sharing of COVID-19 research data.




Harrower, Natalie, Maryl, Maciej, Biro, Timea, Immenhauser, Beat, & ALLEA Working Group E-Humanities. Sustainable and FAIR Data Sharing in the Humanities: Recommendations of the ALLEA Working Group E-Humanities, Digital Repository of Ireland [Distributor], Digital Repository of Ireland [Depositing Institution], https://doi.org/10.7486/DRI.tq582c863