FAIR data principles — making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable — are essential elements that allow R&D-intensive organizations to maximize the value of their digital assets. As knowledge workers within these organizations know, for every breakthrough, there are countless hours spent sifting through vast amounts of literature, analyzing volumes of data, and creating linkages at the intersections of information.

What is FAIR?

Findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable.

These are the guiding principles that together add up to a “FAIR” way to manage data. FAIR began in the academic community and has since been embraced by scientific funding agencies such as the European Commission’s ERC (European Research Council), as well as the National Institutes of Health in the US.

  • Findable means that the data should be able to be found by an appropriate person at an appropriate time.
  • Accessible means that the data is accessible either internally through a license or publicly available.
  • Interoperable means that the data is formatted in a manner that is standardized and annotated.
  • And reusable means that the data has clear usage licenses and is useable by both people and machines.

Without the ability to make connections between multiple internal and external sources of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data, the process of forming all relevant information pieces into a completed puzzle can be nearly impossible.

FAIR Data in Action

The FAIR Data concept is not only important for life sciences, but for the pharma industry specifically. At a global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in the U.K., the Scientific Information Services team saw an opportunity to further the organization’s mission of delivering value to current and future patients by transforming how they make digital assets available to the broader R&D organization. They concluded that if integrated content and data were more discoverable through a unified experience, researchers would be able enrich the R&D pipeline with new ideas more efficiently — resulting in more scientific breakthroughs.

Read on to learn how this biopharmaceutical company and Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) set off to develop a best-in-class solution to facilitate knowledge discovery and insights. Using CCC’s aggregated search and personalization capabilities as a base, this partnership resulted in a solution that will enhance the research process by applying FAIR principles to digital assets.


RightFind® Navigate unifies data sources within an open integration ecosystem to maximize the value of an organization’s digital information assets and  enables knowledge workers with contextualized discovery to find the right information at the right time.  Learn more


Author: Ray Gilmartin

Ray Gilmartin is Director of Corporate Solutions for Copyright Clearance Center. He is responsible for knowledge management products within the Corporate Business Unit including RightFind Navigate, RightFind Professional, and XML for Mining. Ray has diverse experience in providing innovative tools for the management and distribution of information across multiple industries. Before joining CCC, he served in several leadership roles at Akamai, Avid Technology, and HP after beginning his career in TV journalism roles at Hearst Broadcasting and the Christian Science Monitor. Ray holds an MBA from Boston University and resides in Massachusetts with his wife and two young children.
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