Happy 1 year anniversary to FAIR-Aware!

24 June 2021

One year ago this month, the FAIR-Aware tool was launched. Created by DANS under the umbrella of the FAIRsFAIR project, the tool has been helping researchers become more aware of the FAIR data principles and learn how to increase the quality of their datasets by implementing them.

Tool development

In June 2020, the first external pilot users were invited to evaluate the FAIR-Aware tool. Since then, over 200 other users have followed them. Thanks to the extensive feedback from the user community, we have been able to improve the tool significantly. Our most exciting result is that 81% of our users find FAIR-Aware useful for raising their awareness and understanding of the FAIR data principles. Beyond this, the anonymous user feedback has yielded a wealth of information and inspiration to further develop FAIR-Aware, which the development team continues to regularly monitor to improve the tool.


Knowing who our users are also aids the development of the tool. We are glad to note that, as intended, researchers and research supporters make up the largest part of our current users (around 90%), but there is also some use by other stakeholders. While almost half of our users work at universities, a significant part also works at other types of organisations, such as infrastructures, government institutions and funding bodies. We’re happy to see a broader use for the tool than we originally expected!

Given the discipline-agnostic approach of FAIR-Aware, we expect to see a balanced representation of different domains in our user base. As the infographic shows, the tool is indeed used by all the different domains, though the social sciences and humanities, as well as the life sciences make up the largest part of our users. By maintaining a diverse user base and collecting feedback, we are able to tailor the guidance texts to the needs of a variety of different users.

What’s next?

FAIR-Aware will continue to grow and evolve throughout the FAIRsFAIR project and beyond, in the care of DANS. Not only are we improving the guidance information and user experience, we are also exploring additional functionalities for the tool. Our goal is to inform researchers about the availability of this tool as a starting point for making their datasets more FAIR. We also hope to facilitate the uptake of FAIR-Aware into training materials to emphasise the practical benefit of the tool. The good uptake of the tool and the helpful feedback from our users have proven the use for FAIR-Aware and inspired many exciting plans for the future.

Are you curious about FAIR-Aware? Try it out for yourself! The tool is at your disposal to use whenever you need, allowing you to go through the steps at your own pace. Afterwards, you can share your experience and ideas for improvement with us- they are greatly appreciated! FAIR-Aware helps you take those first steps and develop the FAIR skills that are essential in today’s scientific world.

More information

Do you have further questions about the FAIR-Aware tool or would you like to share your personal experience with us (non-anonymously)? Feel free to contact Maaike Verburg.

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