How Can Chemists Make Their Data FAIR?

How Can Chemists Make Their Data FAIR?

Author: ChemistryViews

The National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI; Nationale Forschungsdaten Infrastruktur) is an initiative by the German federal and state governments to create an interdisciplinary network that enables the sustainable handling of research data according to the FAIR guiding principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable).

The chemistry consortium NFDI4Chem (National Research Data Infrastructure for Chemistry) started in 2018 as an initiative of people from different areas of chemistry and computer science and aims to seamlessly digitize the entire workflow in chemical research. Their goal is to close the analog gaps in the digital data lifecycle by developing standards, interfaces, and tools and providing open-source electronic lab notebooks (ELNs), which allow the straightforward publication of data in repositories.

Jochen Ortmeyer and John D. Jolliffe, project managers of the NFDI4Chem Consortium, describe the free tools, resources, and training opportunities NFDI4Chem offers chemists to help them in make their data FAIR. There is a knowledge base on research data management (RDM) in chemistry and an electronic help desk where chemists can ask questions about, for example, electronic lab notebooks, repositories, data management plans (DMPs), and RDM trainings.

It is very important to use an ELN, as it does much of the work automatically and saves a lot of time. Within NFDI4Chem, the open-source ELN Chemotion, which was developed specifically for chemistry and related disciplines, is continuously developed. NFDI4Chem offers several workshops to help chemists manage research data well and use the Chemotion ELN.

Data are not FAIR in standard supporting information documents where data are described in text form and which may include images of spectra that are not machine-readable. Data repositories are essential to FAIR data. In data repositories, data sets are deposited and given a unique, persistent identifier (digital object identifier, DOI) which can be referenced in publications. There are different repositories for different types of data. Within NFDI4Chem, several repositories are maintained, such as the Chemotion Repository, which includes research data that is assigned to molecules, their properties and characterization, as well as reactions and experimental investigations.

To stay in close contact with the community and to continuously improve their tools and services, the consortium offers a Stammtisch on the last Friday of every month. Here invited speakers give a short talk and afterwards, a discussion with the participants takes place.




  1. Isha

    Sounds like a great initiative! Looking forward to joining the Stammtisch on the last Friday of the month. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to engage with invited speakers and participate in discussions to enhance our community and services. Thank you for organizing this!

  2. ishita

    It’s impressive to see the proactive efforts of the NFDI4Chem Consortium in promoting FAIR data practices within the chemistry community. The emphasis on using data repositories and offering regular workshops and community events further reinforces their commitment to advancing research data management in chemistry.


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