Annotating All Knowledge, FAIRly

By memartone | 11 September, 2017

Scientists, scholars, funders, publishers and technologists all over the world are coming together to enhance the value of research data by making them FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. Join colleagues in Berlin to be a part of the important conversation to connect FAIR to digital annotation and data at the second annual Annotating All Knowledge Coalition face-to-face meeting, 9:00–17:00 CEST 24 Oct 2017, co-located with FORCE2017. Co-hosted by Hypothesis with European PubMed Central, and organized in collaboration with ContentMine, PaperHive and Pundit, registration for AAKF2F17 is free.

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About FAIR

FAIR is not a standard, but a set of principles that guide how data should be made available through the web. The principles address such issues as persistent identifiers, rich metadata, APIs, licenses, provenance, cross-links and the use of standards, but leave the implementation details to individual communities to interpret for their particular domains. With the GO-FAIR initiative, scientific communities worldwide are starting to address how they can take steps towards FAIR data. Although FAIR was formulated for scientific data, in fact, FAIR principles can apply to all digital research objects: data, code, narrative, researcher profiles, and of course, annotations.

Illustration from A Grammar of Color by T.M. Cleland (1921).
Illustration from A Grammar of Color by T.M. Cleland (1921)

FAIR & Annotation

Annotations are digital objects, and like any other digital object, they themselves should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. Going a step further, annotation can also be used as a mechanism to make other research objects FAIR. The AAKF2F17 workshop will consider issues such as making annotations FAIR with DOIs, but will also continue our ongoing discussions about what an interoperable annotation layer for the web should look like. Currently, each individual annotation system (e.g., Hypothesis, Pundit, EPMC) may have strategies for supporting specific FAIR principles, but one of AAK’s goals is to make annotations in general FAIR. As outlined in our last AAK F2F in Portland, we are working toward a future when we can use any annotation technology to make, view and search across annotations.

Our goal in Berlin will be to consider at a deeper level how FAIR applies to annotations and, conversely, how annotations can apply to FAIR. For the former, we will consider such issues as persistent identifiers for annotations and parts of annotations, orphan annotations, and utilizing controlled vocabularies for tagging. For the latter, how can annotations be applied to increase the FAIRness of other research objects? By their nature, annotations have the capacity to make other digital objects FAIR and even to create new FAIR objects from existing documents. In the first case, web annotations provide the ability to add addressable, rich metadata to existing digital objects, in the form of tags or free text, and expose these to search. In the second case, with functions like direct linking, web annotations can give a unique address to specific parts of web objects that are not yet FAIR and enable them to be imported into databases or other documents, while automatically recording provenance.

We have started a list of issues that need to be addressed, and welcome your comments and additions. We hope you will join us for this important conversation and workshop, to connect annotation to the FAIR principles.

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