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University Library Zurich

FAIR and Open Data

Only a transparent research process is trustworthy and enables progress. That is why Open Data is an important topic in research and is required by more and more funders. The goal is to allow others to use, review and reuse your scientific findings. For this purpose, the data should not only be open but also have a certain quality.

Two categories of data can be distinguished:

Open Data

The data can be used and distributed by everyone without any restrictions. The only permissible requirement is that the authors be credited according to scientific practices. More about Open Data.


The FAIR principles aim at a scientific use of the data and allow for a dedicated subsequent reuse. The abbreviation FAIR stands for:


Icon Findable


Data are assigned a persistent identifier (PID). The metadata are machine- and human-readable.

Icon Accessible


Data are accessible online, unless they are subject to data protection, copyright or other legal restrictions (e.g. special contracts). Access to the data is clearly described (e.g. embargoed, closed, restricted, open access).

Icon Interoperable

To ensure that (meta)data are compatible with different computer systems, open formats are used. The metadata reflect the standards of the respective research discipline.

Icon Reusable


The metadata clearly specify (e.g. with a license) under which conditions the data can be reused.


Requirements of the SNSF

The SNSF wants its data to be FAIR. Learn more about the SNSF's stance on Open Research Data.

How Do I Create and Use «Open» Data?