In 2016, the ‘FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship’ were published in Scientific Data. The authors intended to provide guidelines to improve the Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse of digital assets. 

FAIR data principles:

F – Findable = globally unique persistent identifiers, described with rich metadata which clearly and explicitly include the identifier of the data they describe, and (meta)data are registered or indexed in a searchable resource.

A – Accessible
– retrievable by identifier via standard communications protocols which are open, free and universally implementable, the protocol allows for an authentication and authorisation procedure, where necessary, and metadata are accessible, even when the data are no longer available.

I – Interoperable
= data need to interoperate with applications or workflows for analysis, storage, and processing, vocabularies and metadata linked for integration with other data, (meta)data use a formal, accessible, shared, and broadly applicable language for knowledge representation, (meta)data use vocabularies that follow FAIR principles and include qualified references to other (meta)data.

R – Reusable = data can be replicated and combined as (meta)data are richly described with a plurality of accurate and relevant attributes, (meta)data are released with a clear and accessible data usage license, (meta)data are associated with detailed provenance and meet domain-relevant community standards.

The principles refer to three types of entities: data (or any digital object), metadata (information about that digital object), and infrastructure (source: GO FAIR).