FAIR Vocabularies For Global Semantic Interoperability: is Australia Standing In It?

Dr Simon Cox1, Dr Steven McEachern2, Mr Rowan Brownlee3, Dr Adrian Burton3, Dr Lesley Wyborn3

1CSIRO  Land and Water, Clayton South, Australia, 2 Australian National University, Acton, Australia, 3Australian Research Data Commons, Acton, Australia


To maximize semantic interoperability within and between disciplines, shared or harmonized terminology is essential. Community-agreed controlled vocabularies formalize a discipline’s knowledge. Making these available in standard representations and APIs allows this to be shared internationally, and enables data integration across the natural, social, health sciences & humanities. Work initiated in a series of Dagstuhl workshops, under the auspices of CODATA and the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI), focuses on making vocabularies FAIR. To assist vocabulary developers, Cox et al. (2021) recently published Ten Simple Rules for making a vocabulary FAIR.

To contribute to International initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and to global debates on Climate Change and/or sustainable development of our natural resources, Australians needs to ensure that their data can be semantically integrated with equivalent resources, whilst recognising that there are examples where conditions in Australia are unique and we will need to develop Australian-centric resources (e.g., descriptions of Australian weathering profiles; social science scenarios).

The purpose of this BoF will be to review the current status of scientific vocabularies in Australia, both technically and semantically. The BoF will start with some short presentations to set the scene, followed by two breakout groups: the first will focus on the technical structure of key Australian vocabularies and services – are they FAIR? Are they sustainable? The second breakout will focus more on vocabulary content and definitions – are they aligned with equivalent international vocabulary instances? Can Australian users find and access the optimal vocabularies for their needs?


Dr Cox works on standards for the publication and transfer of science data, mainly within the environmental sciences. His current focus is on FAIR data, linked open data, and semantic web technologies. He is a member of the National Committee on Data in Science and the Executive Committee of CODATA.


Jul 08 2021


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Jul 08 2021
  • Time: 12:00 am - 1:00 am