Early outcomes of the FAIR 4 Research Software Working Group: definitions, principles and road ahead

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26 Jan 2021
Group(s) submitting the application: 
Meeting objectives: 

At the beginning of July 2020, the FAIR for research software (FAIR4RS) WG started coordinating efforts to leverage community-led discussions on how to define and effectively apply FAIR principles to research software. This initiative has been divided across four subgroups with specific deliverables. We had about 50 participants who expressed interest and contributed to one or more of these subgroups. During the Virtual Plenary 16 November 2020, the steering committee and the collaborators informed the broader community about the work progress in the last semester to gather feedback and initiate the next milestone work. In the upcoming Plenary 17, we will present an early draft of the principles based on the outcomes of all four subgroups, our plan for enabling broad community feedback, as well as outline the road ahead.

Meeting agenda: 

Collaborative session noteshttps://docs.google.com/document/d/12HkgeK35K5f9lfIk3-QLw1x8w7UL1KfrOp9CW9S97OY/edit

This meeting will provide an overview of the key outputs developed towards completion of Milestone 2 as presented in the FAIR4RS WG case statement: “Document developed with community support defining FAIR principles for research software”. . The agenda will be roughly as follows:

  1. Introduction and WG progress (5 minutes)

  2. WG subgroup outputs, subgroup leads (20 minutes)

  3. Break-out groups to discuss the early draft of principles, as part of the community engagement that will lead towards development of a final version mid-year (45 Minutes)

  4. Report back and recommendations (20 Minutes)

This session builds on the outputs of each of the four FAIR4RS subgroups:

Target Audience: 

Anyone interested in the progress of this group is invited to attend. This work will be of value to software project owners, researchers, users of research software, research software engineers, software developers who publish their software, software catalogue maintainers, repository managers, software preservation and archival experts, policymakers who are responsible for defining digital policies, and organisations that create, fund, modify, manage, share, protect, and/or preserve research software.


We would also like to invite members of RDA groups whose interests overlap with this group: CURE FAIR WG, Software Source Code IG, Software Source Code Identification WG, FAIR Data Maturity Model, Research Metadata Schemas WG, FAIR data maturity model, Go FAIR IG, Exposing Data Management Plans WG, Active Data Management Plans IG, Research Funders and Stakeholders on Open Research Data Management Policies and Practices IG, and Global Open Research Commons IG.

Group chair serving as contact person: 
Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group: 

Software has become essential for research. To improve the findability, accessibility,

interoperability, and reuse of research software, it is desirable to develop and apply a set of FAIR Guiding Principles for Software. Many of the high-level FAIR data principles can be directly applied to research software by treating software and data as similar digital research objects. However, specific characteristics of software — such as its executability, composite nature, and continuous evolution and versioning — make it necessary to revise and extend the original data principles.


FAIR4RS WG is a coordination group to leverage existing community-led discussions on how to define and effectively apply FAIR principles to research software, to achieve adoption of these principles. Application of the FAIR principles to software will continue to advance the aims of the open science movement. The FAIR For Research Software Working Group (FAIR4RS WG) is jointly convened as an RDA Working Group, FORCE11 Working Group, and Research Software Alliance (ReSA) Taskforce in recognition of the importance of this work for the advancement of the research sector.

Our first milestone included work on identifying issues in the definition of FAIR for research software based on analysis of existing definitions and frameworks. Since the start of our group, we are now reaching our second milestone, i.e. a complete community consultation towards finalising the definition of guiding principles for

research software, as well as a draft engagement plan towards its adoption. Looking at the road ahead, the milestones for the next year, as listed in the WG Case Statement, include developing guidelines on how to apply the FAIR principles for research software, as well as the definition of a plan towards adoption of the guidelines, including identification of adoption examples.

Short Group Status: 

The FAIR for Research Software (FAIR4RS) is a global working group (WG). Its community is composed of scientists, researchers, developers, scholars, and librarians from different scientific domains. The FAIR4RS WG was jointly convened as an RDA WG, FORCE11 WG, and Research Software Alliance (ReSA) Taskforce in 2020, and was "Recognised & Endorsed" by RDA in September 2020. The activities of the FAIR4RS WG fall under the umbrella of a larger and global effort to recognize the key role the software plays towards  scientific progress. The FAIR4RS WG aims to coordinate a range of existing community-led discussions on how to define and effectively apply the FAIR principles to research software, and how to achieve adoption of these principles.

Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Avoid conflict with the following group (2): 
Meeting presenters: 
Michelle Barker, Neil Chue Hong, Leyla Garcia, Jennifer Harrow, Daniel S. Katz, Morane Gruenpeter, Paula Andrea Martinez, Carlos Martinez, Fotis Psomopoulos