Home Resources GO FAIR Materials Communications Materials GO FAIR Newsletter: May-June 2020




Dear GO FAIR community,

This issue of the Newsletter will have a significantly longer editorial than what you are used to. The reason is that we are at a natural inflection point with GO FAIR, where we need to collectively reflect on our achievement and future ambitions.

GO FAIR was originally conceived as a temporary initiative, with the aim to ‘kick-start’ early developments towards the EOSC, while taking on an additional global perspective. After a little over two years on a roller coaster of amazing community building, we can conclude that GO FAIR achieved a visibility which is much higher than we expected. The main reason is that the instrument we chose, Open Implementation Networks (INs), clearly answered an unmet need.

At the annual meeting of INs in Hamburg, 84 IN colleagues joined at their own costs. Around 25 communities were represented, and we started a conscious process of convergence, aiming mainly at interoperability for reuse. In October of this year, the CODATA/GO FAIR International FAIR Convergence Symposium has been scheduled where we expect not only our current INs but we will reach a much broader community, brought in from the CODATA side.

So, GO FAIR created a vibrant community that is here to stay. This prompts the need to think about the future. What will happen to GO FAIR when the current seed funding from the three founding countries runs out? Where will the INs find a home for the rest of their intended life time? What is the role of the regional and national offices that begin to emerge? How will GO FAIR ‘sublimate’ in the EOSC ecosystem in Europe? How does it compliment other internationally data mandated organisations, such as the Research Data Alliance (RDA), World Data Systems (WDS) and the Committee on Data (CODATA)? In the spirit of GO FAIR, ultimately, the answer to many of these questions should be given by the GO FAIR community itself, not just by the GO FAIR International Support and Coordination Office GFISCO. Let us try to reflect on these questions, without pretending to have the answers ready.

The likely future: A ‘legal entity’ will most likely be formed that will govern the EOSC. That would logically mark the time-point where the (EU) kick start function of GO FAIR is completed. The fact that such an active and apparently useful and open ‘network of Implementation Networks’ has so rapidly developed, clearly has an added value next to the formal research infrastructures. This would indicate that the ‘support and coordination function’ of the current offices needs to be sustained.

We currently have national GO FAIR offices in Brazil, France, Germany and the USA and several other countries are in the process of organizing their FAIR related endeavors and relationships with the four data mandated organisations (RDA, WDS, CODATA and GO FAIR). The creation of the formal EOSC governance offers potential to establish a ‘EU regional office’ for GO FAIR type activities.

Discussions around new offices in other continents are underway in the Asian-Pacific region (21 countries), with strong roles for Malaysia (the ISC regional office) and China (The CODATA national committee). In Australia, the new Australian Research Data Commons is a natural landing place. In many cases, these ‘offices’, coming in many shapes and forms, also deal with RDA, WDS and CODATA aspects. Now that these four organisations have come to a joint statement about their complementarities and to express their strong intention to collaborate where appropriate, this also looks like a very natural development.

Regions, and countries (such as the German National Research Data Infrastructure, the EOSC, the Chinese Sciences and Technology Cloud, the African Open Science Platform, the US Open Knowledge, etc) need to deal with international standards and agreements in order to ensure that whatever research infrastructures they build are globally connected and interoperable. Science is (or at least should be) a global public good. Combining these relationships as part and parcel of the organisations that deal with the national and regional research infrastructures, it seems a socially responsible next evolution.

The GO FAIR directors and the Steering Committee, in close consultation with the Executive Board, representing the INs will actively work on a non-disruptive transition strategy that will ensure continuous support for the INs.

All the best,
Laurent Crouzet, Barend Mons & Klaus Tochtermann
Strategic Directors, GO FAIR Initiative


Did you know… GO Read

In this section you will learn about Implementation Networks that have recently acquired “active” status, recent IN activities and opportunities. This way, we ensure that you always stay on top of things happening in the “GO FAIR” family.

New “active” GO FAIR Implementation Network:

The Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN) IN aims at making data of past and current epidemics FAIR to discover meaningful patterns in virus outbreaks. VODAN currently focuses on FAIRifiying the SARS CoV-2 virus. Any technical components that will make this virus findable, accessible, interoperable and thus reusable by both humans and machines will remain in place. This will be of utmost importance for any future infectious disease outbreaks. The overall VODAN IN Coordination is managed by Bert Meerman and Barend Mons.


  • The Data Together organisations (CODATA, GO FAIR, RDA and WDS) published their joint declaration of commitment to work together to optimise the global research data ecosystem. First area of activities together aims at the COVID-19 data, and VODAN is listed as one of their joint activities. Read the full statement on Data Together COVID-19 Appeal and Actions.
  • The GO FAIR US office organized a series of FAIR Data and COVID-19 webinars. If you missed the webinars, you can watch the recordings.
  • The FooSIN project, dedicated to animate and support the Food Systems IN among the French community working with agricultural data, was launched recently. Learn more about the project objectives and consortium on their website (French only; English content about the FooSIN project & its consortium).


Interesting reads from the INs

GO Meet

This section gives you an overview of conferences and workshops where you can meet up (virtually) with fellow GO FAIR members if you happen to attend the same event or are in the same town.

In order for this category to work we do need your help! Please drop us a line at go-fair@zbw.eu and tell us where you can be met in the future.

External events


INternal events


People of GO FAIR

In this section we would like to introduce you to members of our GO FAIR family. In each newsletter we will provide you with a short profile of two GO FAIR members.

IN representative:

Mirjam van Reisen, IN Coordinator of the IN-Africa as well as one of the Coordinators of the Ambassadors IN

Mirjam van Reisen is Professor of International Relations, Innovation and Care at Tilburg University and Professor of Computing for Society at Leiden Centre for Data Science, at the University of Leiden. She is Research Leader of the Globalization, Accessibility, Innovation and Care (GAIC) network and a member of the Dutch advisory Council on International Affairs.

Van Reisen founded, and leads the research organisation EEPA in Brussels. She is a member of the Board of Philips Foundation and the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation.

Van Reisen has published extensively on Europe and international cooperation, human rights, and human trafficking. Increasing the use of technology and big data has been an important part of this research. The establishment of the IN-Africa, a network consisting of 9 universities, and its participation in the VODAN IN is a culmination of this work. Only through proper science and evidence-based responses can COVID be properly handled.


Executive Board representative:

Ronald Cornet, Chair of the GO FAIR Executive Board & IN representative of the Rare Diseases IN

Ronald Cornet is an associate professor at the department of Medical Informatics in the Amsterdam Public Health research institute, Amsterdam UMC. Over 25 years, he has been involved in research on (semantic) interoperability, both from a technical perspective and from a users’ point of view. He is involved in health care information standardization, including ISO and SNOMED International. He is president of the Dutch Society for Health Care Informatics (VMBI) and chair of the GO FAIR executive board. He is involved in Horizon-2020 funded projects, including EJP-RD, FAIR4HEALTH, and CAPABLE.

Ronald teaches in the Medical Informatics and Health Informatics programs at Amsterdam UMC, inspiring students to improve clinical and secondary use of healthcare data by understanding and applying data standardization and harmonization in healthcare.

When offline, he likes to walk, to run, to ride his recumbent bike, and to travel.



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