Mandated by funders and governments and implemented at universities and research-intensive organizations worldwide, FAIR data principles ensuring that data is findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable are expected to drive innovation in science in the years ahead. Proponents say FAIR will accelerate machine readability of research and thereby lift discovery to greater heights.

A May 10, 2023, CCC Town Hall panel shared best practices for developing research data that is FAIR through culture, training, and technology. The discussion also detailed how FAIR data saves lives, saves money, and drives confidence in science on four continents.

The LinkedIn Live special event included George Strawn, a scholar at the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine who served as CIO with the National Science Foundation from 2003 to 2009. Strawn joined the roundtable discussion with reflections on a half-century of internet evolution and the transformative role of FAIR data in the future.

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In his remarks, Strawn identified three steps in the evolution of computing. The first step came after World War II with the ENIAC and UNIVAC, the first programmable digital computers that were enormous standalone machines. Then came the internetworking era that began in the 1970s, when Strawn was beginning his career as a computer scientist at the University of Iowa. Now in 2023, he reflected on the new era in computing that FAIR data will bring.

“The first wonderful step was computers themselves. The second, equally important step has been the internet age of interconnected computers,” Strawn told me. “I think FAIR is ushering in the third phase of information technology, which is interoperable data as well as interconnected computers.”


Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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