Draft recommendations for making VREs FAIR and FAIR-enabling

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01 Nov 2022
Group(s) submitting the application: 
Meeting objectives: 

The FAIR for Virtual Research Environments (FAIR4VREs) WG has produced recommendations for making VREs FAIR and FAIR-enabling, and wishes to gain feedback from VRE users and developers. 

The working group also wishes to crowdsource case studies on how VREs contribute to FAIRness of other digital objects and examples of guidance materials.

Meeting agenda: 


Collaborative session notes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GqNTEPCSfWrmlIWsHjc9esWSRd7Aq9BXGcK9...

  • 0-10 min: Welcome and introductions 

  • 10-30min: Presentation of the draft recommendation: Guidance for making VREs FAIR and FAIR-enabling 

  • 30-70 min: Obtaining feedback on the draft recommendations - issues, additions, edits.   

  • 70-80 min: Call for further case studies of FAIR and FAIR-enabling VREs, and examples of guidance materials for VRE developers 

  • 80-90 min: Assigning Actions and wrap up

Target Audience: 

This session is aimed at anyone who is or has been involved in using, developing or maintaining any form of online collaborative environment or their individual components and is interested in FAIR principles. 

In preparation for this meeting, attendees could think about the challenges they face using and/or developing VREs. They could share visions, needs and requirements from their experience.

We would also like to invite members of RDA groups whose interests overlap with this group: FAIR for Research Software (FAIR4RS) WG, FAIR for Machine Learning IG, CURE FAIR WG, FAIR Data Maturity Model, Go FAIR IG, and Global Open Research Commons IG.

Group chair serving as contact person: 
Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group: 

One of the major challenges of data-driven research is to facilitate knowledge discovery by assisting humans and machines in their discovery of, access to, integration and analysis of data and their associated research objects, e.g., algorithms, software, and workflows. The FAIR data principles strongly contribute to addressing this challenge with regard to research data. The principles, at a high level, are intended to apply to all research objects; both those used in research and those that form the outputs of research. Here we focus on the adaptation and adoption of the FAIR principles for VREs (Virtual Research Environments, also called science gateways, research platforms or virtual labs).

Digital objects such as data, software and workflows cannot be made FAIR in isolation - digital infrastructure is needed to store, manage, analyse and share the digital objects, and to make them discoverable. VREs are increasingly used as the vehicle for collecting or generating digital objects, processing, analysing, annotating and visualising these, then sharing the research outputs. How infrastructure such as a VRE is developed, and the functions it supports, therefore have a large impact on the FAIRness of digital objects themselves. 

VREs should enable FAIRness in the digital objects that they create or produce, and at the very least should not make digital objects that they process less FAIR. VREs themselves should also be FAIR, in that they should be easily discoverable and accessible; should interoperate with other digital research infrastructures; and their technical architecture, components and services should be reusable to improve development efficiency. 

The FAIR4VREs WG will enable coordination between existing communities working with VREs, science gateways, platforms and virtual labs, to define what it means for VREs to be and enable FAIR, and provide guidance to VRE developers in achieving this.

The working group will:

  1. Investigate how the existing application of the FAIR principles to data, software, workflows, computational notebooks, training materials, AI and machine learning enable VREs to enable FAIR digital objects, and themselves be FAIR, and identify any gaps in the existing work.

  2. Produce guidance on and examples of how VRES can and should be FAIR.

  3. Produce guidance on and examples of how VREs can and should enable FAIRness for other digital objects.

Short Group Status: 

The FAIR4VREs WG was endorsed in October 2021, and has defined its Scope of work and a gap analysis (see Work Plan). 

The working group identified commonalities and differences in the application of FAIR to VREs based on an analysis of existing high-level principles as applied to data and software. Based on the gaps identified, the working group sought advice from the community on how VREs could and should be FAIR, and also enable FAIRness in the digital objects they create and process.

Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Avoid conflict with the following group (2): 
Meeting presenters: 
Leyla Jael Castro (in person), Kerry Levett, Kheeran Dharmawardena, Sandra Gesing