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FAIR Data: Findable

The FAIR Data Principles are a set of community developed guiding principles for making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.

  • Your data will be published online in a searchable resource e.g. a catalogue, data repository or archive.
  • Your chosen repository or archive will assign a persistent identifier to your data.
  • You will provide rich metadata describing your data, according to the requirements of the repository or archive.

Data Repositories & Archives

​A Data Repository allows researchers to upload and publish their data, thereby making the data available for other researchers to re-use.

Similarly, a Data Archive allows users to deposit and publish data but will generally offer greater levels of curation to community standards, have specific guidelines on what data can be deposited and is more likely to offer longterm preservation as a service. Sometimes the terms data repositories and data archives are used interchangeably.

Types of Data Repositories or Archives include:

  • Institutional data repositories
  • General purpose or multidisciplinary repositories
  • Domain or discipline specific data repositories

UCD does not have an institutional repository for research data, however we do have two domain or discipline specific repositories: UCD Digital Library and the Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA).


A Data Repository or Archive will provide services such as:

  • Persistent identifier such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
  • Assistance with metadata provision e.g. through the use of a template
  • Allow you to apply a licence to your data
  • Aid compliance with ‘FAIR’ data principles
  • Accept a wide range of data types
  • Long-term access and, in some cases, long-term preservation
  • Offer useful search, navigation and visualisation functionality
  • Reach a wider audience of potential users
  • Manage requests for data on your behalf

Persistent Identifiers

A persistent identifier (PID) is a long-lasting reference to a digital resource, which will make your data more findable. Most Data Archives and Repositories will assign a persistent identifier to your data. 

Digital Object Identifiers (DOI)

Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) are probably the most commonly used PIDs for research data. DOIs are digital identifiers for objects (whether digital, physical or abstract) which can be assigned by organisations in membership of one of the DOI Registration Agencies; the two best known ones are CrossRef, for journal articles and some other scholarly publications, and DataCite for a wide range of data objects.


Additional persistent identifier schemes currently in use include:


The UK Data Service explain: "metadata can describe the content, context and provenance of datasets in a standardised and structured manner,  typically describing the purpose, origin, temporal characteristics, geographic location, authorship, access conditions and terms of use of a dataset."

Rich metadata (elements which describe the data) enhance the findability, interoperability and reusability of your data. To comply with the FAIR Principles metadata should be accessible, wherever possible, even if the data aren’t.

The quality of the descriptive information (metadata and documentation) regarding the data has a profound impact on their reusability so the more documentation and metadata you can provide, the better.

Your chosen Data Repository or Archive may have a metadata template you can complete or a required standard you must use. If not you should follow relevant disciplinary standards.

National Archives of Australia - Meta... What? Metadata!