Making research data accessible and FAIR criteria

Open access is created within the framework of applicable legislation. To determine whether data are suitable for making accessible, you need to consider several factors. The Swedish Research Council recommends that the research data produced through research are managed according to the FAIR principles.

What does ‘FAIR research data’ mean?

FAIR is an internationally recognised concept, consisting of 15 guiding principles for research data and data management. According to the FAIR principles, research data shall be

  • Findable
  • Accessible
  • Interoperable
  • Reusable

In May 2023, Sweden and the EU’s member states adopted the Council of the European Union’s conclusions that encourage member states to update their national strategies and guidelines for open access to make academic publications accessible immediately with open licences, and to apply the FAIR principles.

Council of the European Union’s conclusions: High quality, transparent, open, reliable and equitable academic publication External link.

Read the Swedish Research Council’s recommendation on data management according to FAIR External link.

Criteria for FAIR research data

The Swedish Research Council has developed criteria for all 15 FAIR principles. The FAIR criteria aim to increase the understanding and knowledge of what the FAIR principles mean in practice. They can be used by researchers, research funding bodies, or for strategic decisions when implementing FAIR in the policies of organisations.

Certain aspects of FAIR are more demanding and complex to fulfil than others – and to assess the fulfilment of. Certain principles assume that other principles have been fulfilled, for example, PID (Principle 1) is a fundamental component that must be in place to enable other principles to be fulfilled. The fulfilment of certain principles entail collaboration with various support functions.

A criterion can be fulfilled in different ways, and to different degrees. Certain aspects may, in some situations, be achievable only for metadata and not for data, for example when they consist of sensitive data.

The criteria are worded in a general way, and any comparison of FAIR-ness must take into account the research field and type of data.

To support the work with FAIR data management, there is also a need for supporting infrastructure, services, and not least competence in relation to and a culture of FAIR and good data management.

Research data shall be findable

Research data shall be accessible

Research data shall be interoperable

Research data shall be reusable

Guide to implementing the criteria

To enable FAIR data management to be implemented in the research process, the Swedish Research Council has produced a more detailed description in the form of a guide to the criteria. The guide aims to provide support for practical implementation of the criteria at a more detailed level. It can be used as a joint source of information for all who support researchers in planning data management, in particular the support functions for data management at higher education institutions and infrastructures, where adaptation to FAIR data management and practical implementation of the FAIR principles are often done.
Guide to implementing the criteria for FAIR research data

Guide to implementing the criteria for FAIR research data (in Swedish)




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    The Swedish Research Council is driving the development towards open access to scientific publications together with other research funding bodies within and outside Sweden. One of the ways we do this is to establish guidelines for publication with o...

  2. Indicators for measuring and following up

    The Swedish Research Council has produced indicators that can be used to follow up and measure the effects of the work on the transition to open access to research data. They can also be used to identify areas where extra efforts are needed.

  3. Support and tools

    Open access to research data means that research data are published freely available on the internet. This page gathers together support and tools for those who are working with open access in various ways.