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Explore the Essentials of FAIR Data and Databases

By Cathrine Terro.

As an Early-Stage Researcher (ESR 6), I always sought opportunities to extend my understanding of data management and enhance my skills. And in an era where data had become the backbone of decision-making and innovation, understanding how to manage it effectively is critical.

The principles of FAIR—Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable—provided a robust framework to ensure that data remained valuable and usable over time. To help professionals navigate these essential concepts, the "FAIR Data and Databases" course was introduced. This three-day intensive program, held from May 22-24, 2024, was hosted by the Jožef Stefan Institute at their Reactor Center in Brinje, Slovenia.

The course was meticulously designed to cater to a diverse audience, including researchers, data managers, and IT professionals engaged in data management, particularly within the realm of chemical risk assessment. The sessions were structured to provide a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application, ensuring that attendees could translate what they learned into actionable strategies in their own work.

Throughout the three days, participants delved into a comprehensive curriculum covering a wide array of topics. The first day set the stage with an introduction to FAIR principles and data management for Human Biomonitoring (HBM) and environmental data. These sessions provided foundational knowledge and real-world examples, helping attendees understand how to apply these principles to their own datasets. The second day focused on geospatial data extraction and the implementation of FAIR principles through FAIR Implementation Profiles (FIPs). This day also featured hands-on training sessions, offering practical experience in data extraction and management techniques.

On the final day, the course explored advanced topics such as FAIR metadata and the practices of the ELIXIR Research Data Management framework. Participants gained insights into how these advanced practices could enhance data usability and accessibility. The program culminated with a visit to the laboratory and a wrap-up session to consolidate key takeaways. Throughout the course, there were ample opportunities for interaction and discussion, allowing participants to engage with experts and peers alike.

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