Towards FAIR principles for research software

Anna-lena Lamprecht, Leyla Garcia, Mateusz Kuzak, Carlos Martinez, Ricardo Arcila, Eva Martin Del Pico, Victoria Dominguez Del Angel, Stephanie Van De Sandt, Jon Ison, Paula Andrea Martinez, Peter Mcquilton, Alfonso Valencia, Jennifer Harrow, Fotis Psomopoulos, Josep Ll. Gelpi, Neil Chue Hong, Carole Goble, Salvador Capella-gutierrez, Paul Groth, Paul GrothMichel Dumontier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The FAIR Guiding Principles, published in 2016, aim to improve the findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability of digital research objects for both humans and machines. Until now the FAIR principles have been mostly applied to research data. The ideas behind these principles are, however, also directly relevant to research software. Hence there is a distinct need to explore how the FAIR principles can be applied to software. In this work, we aim to summarize the current status of the debate around FAIR and software, as basis for the development of community-agreed principles for FAIR research software in the future. We discuss what makes software different from data with regard to the application of the FAIR principles, and which desired characteristics of research software go beyond FAIR. Then we present an analysis of where the existing principles can directly be applied to software, where they need to be adapted or reinterpreted, and where the definition of additional principles is required. Here interoperability has proven to be the most challenging principle, calling for particular attention in future discussions. Finally, we outline next steps on the way towards definite FAIR principles for research software.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-59
JournalData Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2020


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