Helping researchers who work on ‘Understanding the Earth’ to better understand the new FAIR publication requirements

Dr Lesley Wyborn1, Julia  Martin2, Dr Mingfang Wu3, Shelley  Stall4, Dr  Natasha  Simons5, Dr Ben  Evans1, Dr  Adrian Burton2, Dr Tim Rawling6

1NCI, ANU, Acton, Australia, 2Australian Reserach Data Commons, Canberra, Australia, 3Australian Reserach Data Commons, Melbourne, Australia, 4American Geophysical Union, Washington, United States of America, 5Australian Reserach Data Commons, Brisbane, Australia, 6AuScope Ltd, Melbourne, Australia


A diverse range of researchers work on ‘Understanding the Earth’: studying phenomena from the outer atmosphere to the inner core. Although scholarly publications from their research are based on datasets, software, and physical samples, a frustrating issue has been the access to many of their input artefacts. This access is critical to ensure the integrity of published research and facilitating their reuse.

In 2017, a grant from the Laura and Arnold Foundation enabled the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and other partners (including AuScope, National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC)) to significantly improve the interconnection between literature and datasets, software and samples, based on the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable (FAIR) principles.

The project mobilized a community of more than 300 international stakeholders from publishers, funders, repositories, researchers, professional societies, etc to ensure that input data, physical samples, and software are accessible and referenceable as first-class research products in the modern research ecosystem. The project developed a Commitment Statement that reflects the distinct stakeholder perspectives, and defines goals for each that collectively support open and FAIR principles. Over 100 publishers, repositories, organizations and individuals have now signed.

To assist Australian researchers to meet these new requirements, ARDC have published a set of online resources to help citation and unique identification of data, software and physical samples. ARDC have also established a support network at research institutions across Australia. Making more resources open and FAIR will also assist in enabling transparent research for those who work on ‘Understanding the Earth’.


Lesley Wyborn is an Adjunct Fellow at the National Computational Infrastructure and RSES at ANU and works part time for the Australian Research Data Commons. She previously had 42 years’ experience in scientific research (geochemistry and mineral systems research)  and in geoscientific data management in Geoscience Australia from 1972 to 2014. In geoinformatics her main interests are developing international standards that support the integration of Earth science datasets into transdisciplinary research projects and in developing seamless high performance data sets that can be used in high performance computing environments. She is currently Chair of the Australian Academy of Science ‘National Data in Science Committee’ and is on the American Geophysical Union Data Management Board. She was awarded the Australian Government Public Service Medal in 2014, the 2015 Geological Society of America Career Achievement Award in Geoinformatics and the 2019 US Earth Science Information Partners Martha Maiden Award.



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