Home FAIR Principles A2: Metadata should be accessible even when the data is no longer available

What does this mean?
Datasets tend to degrade or disappear over time because there is a cost to maintaining an online presence for data resources. When this happens, links become invalid and users waste time hunting for data that might no longer be there. Storing the metadata generally is much easier and cheaper. Hence, principle A2 states that metadata should persist even when the data are no longer sustained. A2 is related to the registration and indexing issues described in F4.


  • Metadata are valuable in and of themselves, when planning research, especially replication studies. Even if the original data are missing, tracking down people, institutions or publications associated with the original research can be extremely useful.