Creating an Open FAIR-way to Connect Researchers, Publishers and Data Repositories: a New AGU-led Initiative in the Earth and Space Sciences.

Shelley Stall1, Dr Lesley Wyborn2, Erin Robinson3, Dr Brooks Hanson4, Mark Parsons5, Dr Kerstin Lehnert6, Professor Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld7, Professor Brian Nosek8

1American Geophysical Union, Washington, USA, 

2National Computational Infratructure, Canberra, Australia,

3Earth Science Information Partnership, Boulder, USA,

4American Geophysical Union, Washington, USA,

5Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, New York, USA,

6Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Colorado, , Boulder, USA,

7Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, USA,

8Center for Open Science, Charlottesville, USA



Open, accessible, and high-quality data and related data products and software are critical to the integrity of published research: they are key to ensure transparency of research and to support reproducibility and repeatability. Unfortunately not all research artifacts are saved in such a way that they can firstly be understood by other researchers reading the publication, then subsequently be reused and repurposed in multiple other research endeavors.

To accelerate this process, the American Geophysical Union and a set of partners representing the International Earth and space Science community including the Coalition for Publishing Data in Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS), the Earth Science Information Partnership (ESIP), DataCite, Research Data Alliance (RDA), and the Center for Open Science (COS) have been awarded a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to develop a collaborative solution across researchers, journals and repositories that will evolve the Earth and Space Science (ESS) publication process to include not just the publication, but all research inputs into that publication and related derived data products to help develop a unified process that is efficient and standardised for researchers and supports their work from grant application through to publishing [1].

The aim of the project is to develop and implement a collaborative solution for researchers, journals and repositories that will connect publications in the Earth and space sciences with related data, samples and software in repositories, and then make these connections and data interoperable and discoverable across multiple publishers and repositories. A reference set of best practices will be developed for researchers, publishers, and repositories that will include: metadata and identifier standards; data services; common taxonomies; landing pages at repositories to expose the metadata and standard repository information; standard data citation; and standard integration into editorial peer review workflows.

The solution will include defining and managing the metadata requirements and storage requirements for data and derived products, and the incorporation of the changes needed into the submission and workflows for each publisher. It will also provide support and oversight of the adoption process, best practices, and continued compliance of the requirements by both repositories and publishers ensuring a sustainable, scalable solution.

The project will be based around the FAIR guidelines as developed by [2], which seeks to ensure that research artifacts that are input to and/or support the publication process will be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR). Research artefacts can include datasets, images, video, software, scripts, models, physical samples, and other tools and technology: all are an integral part of modern day research and hence by providing persistent identifiers for each and then being able to link their IDs to publications they provide the supporting evidence, reproducibility and integrity of the scientific record.

This project will build on existing work of COPDESS [3], ESIP [4], RDA [5], the scientific journals, and domain repositories to ensure that well documented data, preserved in a repository with community agreed-upon metadata and data standards, and through supporting persistent identifiers becomes part of the expected research products submitted in support of each publication. The solution will also ensure that the submission of data and derived products supporting research have documentation that is machine readable and better meets the FAIR Data objectives.

In Australia, this initiative was supported by AuScope [6], the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) [7] and National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) [8]. The first meeting of the Advisory Board will be in Washington D.C. on 15 November 2017 and will be followed by a 2-day Stakeholder Workshop that will bring together repositories and journals/publishers for a workshop on implementing standards and best practices.


1. American Geophysical Union Coalition Receives Grant to Advance Open and FAIR Data Standards in the Earth and Space Sciences. Available from Accessed 30 August 2017.
2. The Force 11 FAIR data principles. Available from, accessed 30 August 2017.
3. Coalition for Publishing Data in Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS). Available from , accessed 30 August 2017.
4. Earth Science Information Partnership (ESIP). Available from , accessed on 30 August, 2017.
5. Research Data Alliance (RDA). Available from , accessed on 30 August, 2017.
6. Australian National Data Service (ANDS). Available from , accessed on 30 August, 2017.
7. AuScope. Available from , accessed on 30 August, 2017.
8. National Computational Infrastructure. Available from , accessed on 30 August, 2017.


Lesley Wyborn is a geochemist by training and worked for BMR/AGSO/GA for 42 years in a variety of geoscience and geoinformatics positions. In 2014 she joined the ANU and currently has a joint adjunct fellowship with National Computational Infrastructure and the Research School of Earth Sciences. She has been involved in many NCRIS funded eResearch projects over the years. She is Deputy Chair of the Australian Academy of Science ‘Data for Science Committee’ and is co-chair of several RDA Interest Groups as well as a member of the AGU Earth and Space Science Executive Committee.


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