Improving data FAIRness

26 February 2024

Uniting researchers and repositories in the Netherlands, a European perspective

The paper ‘Uniting researchers and repositories to improve data FAIRness: The Netherlands in European perspective’ provides an interesting look at the Dutch research data landscape compared to the European context.

This paper is based on data from the study ‘European Research Data Landscape’. This study analysed researchers’ practices in producing, reusing, and depositing data, as well as making the data FAIR. The findings highlight both progress and challenges in promoting FAIRness of research datasets and further embracing the ideals of open science at the European level. This article highlights some intriguing trends and patterns that have come out of this benchmarking, and offers insights into potential focus areas and approaches to further improve the current picture.

  • FAIR is on the radar, but general awareness and some specific practices continue to require dedicated support and incentives;
  • Software is on the rise in the Netherlands at an advanced level compared to the European trends. This development brings along new questions, desires, and requirements for support, clarity, and standards;
  • Understanding is key for improvement and progression. Researchers and repositories need to put in effort to get to know each other better, speak the same language, and understand what they can mean to each other.

The Netherlands is currently well-advanced in terms of research data management and FAIR practices. Previous and current activities in the national scientific landscape have been fruitful. The study’s conclusions tell us that:

  • Most Dutch repositories never delete data after a specific amount of time.
  • Dutch researchers produce more software and code in their research activity.
  • Dutch researchers indicated more often that they create a Data Management Plan when starting their research
  • Dutch researchers tend to reuse observational data, software and code, and quantitative tabular data more often compared to the full set of European researchers.
  • Dutch researchers are more aware of FAIR Principles and the European Union Open Science policy. 

Continuous ambition can be stimulated by evaluative exercises, such as the data analysis in this paper, that can reveal new or different approaches for further progress. This paper highlights the need for researchers and repositories to focus more on coming together and explaining their perspectives, needs, and the support they can offer each other. Such collaboration is needed to take FAIR further than is possible individually. At the European level, wider collaboration is also seen as increasingly important for further improving the scientific ecosystem, which is a development thatthe Netherlands can and should be actively involved in to advance science on a larger scale.

Click here for the paper on Zenodo. 

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Maaike Verburg M.Sc.

Research Data Management Specialist