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University Library Zurich

FAIR and Open Data

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 scientific findings. For this purpose, the data should not only be open but also fulfil certain quality criteria.

According to the FAIR principles data should be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable to maximise its reuse potential.

What does FAIR mean?


Data are assigned a persistent identifier (PID). The metadata  are machine- and human-readable. You can increase the findability of data by sharing  it via a FAIR-repository.

See the SNSF's checklist to identify FAIR repositories (section 5.1)


(Meta)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). If the data itself cannot be shared, at least the metadata  is available.


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. Persistent identifiers can be used to link data with its publication, authors, code and other related information.


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

How to Make Data FAIR?

Use the numerous online tools to improve or assess the FAIRness of (your) data.

UB tutorial: How to make your data FAIR?

Checklist: How FAIR are your data?

Requirements of the SNSF

The SNSF expects researchers to share their data according to the FAIR principles on publicly accessible, digital repositories. It is important to note that the FAIR principles do not require researchers to share all their data without any restrictions. 

See the requirements of the SNSF regarding research data

the SNSF's explanation of the FAIR Data Principles

SNSF examples of FAIR repositories

Checklist to identify repositories complying with the FAIR Data Principles

Researchers should check if the repository is compatible with the FAIR Data Principles. The answer to each of the questions below must be "yes" .

  • Are datasets (or ideally single files in a dataset) given globally unique and persistent identifiers (e.g. DOI)?
  • Does the repository allow the upload of intrinsic (e.g. author's name, content of dataset, associated publication, etc.) and submitter-defined (e.g. definition of variable names, etc.) metadata?
  • Is it clear under which licence (e.g. CC0, CC BY, etc.) the data will be available, or can the user upload/choose a licence?
  • Are the citation information and metadata always (even in the case of datasets with restricted access) publicly accessible?
  • Does the repository provide a submission form requesting intrinsic metadata in a specific format (to ensure machine readability/interoperability)?
  • Does the repository have a long-term preservation plan for the archived data?

Weiterführende Informationen

Questions about research data management?

Christian Futter, Dr.
Elisabeth-Christine Gamer, Dr.
Melanie Röthlisberger, Dr.
Stefanie Strebel, Dr.

Tel. +41 44 635 47 49

We offer trainings, workshops and support for research data management and writing DMPs.