The FAIR Island Project

Project Goals

What we will accomplish

Our primary goal is to develop the optimal data policies and technical infrastructure necessary to create an environment where all data and knowledge collected on Tetiaroa is curated and made openly available as quickly as possible. Longer term, our hope is to extend the policies and infrastructure developed in this partnership to other field stations including those administered by University of California (e.g., through the UC Natural Reserve System). The research community on Tetiaroa is international (France/EU, NZ, UK, US, …) and connects across many scientific networks, thus contributing to the advancement of open science on a global scale.

What we will learn

The FAIR Island project examines the impact of implementing optimal research data management policies and requirements, affording us the unique opportunity to look at the outcomes of strong data policies at a working field station. It also offers a real-world example to prove the capabilities of machine-actionable data management plans (maDMPs) and to analyse the downstream effects of these policies in the resulting release of data. Our goal is to translate the broader FAIR principles into a set of specific requirements and implementable activities that demonstrate how good data management practices and policies accelerate research for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Some questions guiding our work include:

  • How can we best transform the DMP workflow to optimize its functionality within a controlled environment?  
  • What information generated within this controlled environment can we move between systems and workflows?
  • What are the minimum set of PIDs and ontologies needed to support interoperability and reusability of data collected at the field station?
a diver places a mesh-lined crate over on a coral reef.

Project Details

Tetiaroa is in a unique position to demonstrate how we can advance open science by creating optimal FAIR data policies governing all research conducted at the field station. By implementing mandatory registration requirements including extensive use of controlled vocabularies, personal identifiers (PIDs), and other identifiers, DMPs will be utilized as key documents for tracking provenance, attribution, compliance, deposit, and publication of all research data collected on the island.

Starting with rats…

The invasive, non-native rats present on Tetiaroa provide an initial focal point for our project. Researchers on the island are currently collecting data in advance of a massive rat eradication project and will follow up with additional studies once the species has been removed. These data sets taken together offer the opportunity to examine the ecological responses, across the coupled marine and terrestrial environments, that occur when you remove a keystone species from an ecosystem. The FAIR Island project will utilize the rat eradication project as a real life example from which to map out the data management policies and processes that are required to accelerate the rate at which multidisciplinary data are being collected, released, and made available for reuse. 

Work Plan

Phase 1: Establishing FAIR-compliant Data Policies

A FAIR Island data management policy and corresponding procedures for research data management on the island will be developed with the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the Tetiaroa Society (TS). A draft has been produced by TS Science Director, and is now in review.

Phase 2: Developing Machine-Actionable Data Management Plans

Much of the technical infrastructure of the FAIR Island project builds on existing and ongoing work making DMPs machine-actionable, the core component of CDL’s NSF funded EAGER grant. The DMPTool team recently completed work prototyping the generation of DOIs for DMPs. CDL has also been active in conceptualizing the capabilities of maDMPs as summarized in blog posts covering such topics as ten principles for machine-actionable data management plans, what maDMPs are, what they can do to support automation, utilizing common standards and PIDs, and maDMPs as living documents.

To support the FAIR Island project we will extend our work on machine-actionable DMPs to include:

  • identifiers such as ROR, Fundref, re3data repositories
  • the completion of an RDA Common Standard compliant API
  • support for multiple datasets and multiple contributors
  • improved ORCID integration
  • moving DOI generation from our testing environment into production
  • continuing to ensure all machine-actionable DMP features in the DMPTool application are released in our open DMPRoadmap codebase

Phase 3: Integrating with External Systems

Integration with other systems is a core requirement, and scalable benefit, of the FAIR Island experiment. As an example, we will be working with the UC Natural Reserve System to build upon their reservations management tool (RAMS), which is already in use locally at the field station, to track data from projects and teams spanning scientific domains and institutions. We will also be working on integrations with the Genomic Observatories MetaDatabase (GEOME), the Dryad Digital Repository, and the Merritt digital preservation repository. Additional potential integrations are in discussion and will likely be added to the project’s work plan.

Phase 4: Continuing to Analyze, Iterate, and Improve

Once the policies, procedures, and technical infrastructure are in place we will continue to iterate on our systems to adjust to the realities on the ground. This practical application of the FAIR data principles allows us to experiment with varying workflows in order to identify the optimal system for achieving project goals. Phase Four of the project will focus on analysing the systems as they are used, looking at the downstream effects of adherence to the FAIR Island data policies and procedures, and making any necessary adjustments.

Phase 5: Expanding the FAIR Island Model 

We’re developing the FAIR Island initiative to create a model research data management  environment that can be shared with, and implemented by, other research efforts. Both the CDL team and the administrators of the field station expect this project to inform subsequent work on neighboring islands, likely starting with Moorea, and ultimately extending to other islands in French Polynesia.