Publishers and FAIR data

By Jan Velterop

Image: NASA.

Recently, I, with my co-author Eril Schultes, presented a proposal for the academic publishing world to get actively involved in the formulation of protocols and standards that make published scientific research material machine-readable in order to facilitate data to be findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable (FAIR)1. Given the importance of traditional journal publications in scholarly communication worldwide, active involvement of academic publishers – including preprint services, in our opinion – in advancing the more routine creation and reuse of FAIR data is highly desired.

Our proposal was published with Open Access, of course, in the journal Information Services and Use1.

We argue that scientific communication has changed and is now far more data-oriented than it was, probably due to the possibilities offered by the internet. Data have always been important in scientific research, but in publications it was treated as a “supplement”, available from the authors of the paper, if you were lucky. That situation is changing, and one could almost reverse this in some scientific disciplines, where the article is beginning to be seen more as an “annotation” of the data, than as the core of the communication with the underlying data merely a “supplement”.

In the words used in a report by the well-known publishing consultancy Outsell: “Data brings transparency and reproducibility to scholarly communications when it is analyzed and presented in an accessible and interactive way. Publishers that focus on making data a bona fide research artifact create a compelling reason for authors to choose their journals.”

This clearly implies that publishers ought to make the data that underlie the articles they publish in their journals more easily findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable than in the past. This can be done by implementing the FAIR principles.

In order to implement the FAIR principles in a consistent way, supported by as many publishing outfits as possible, we have, with the encouragement and support of IOS Press, taken this initiative to get a publishers’ implementation network together.


1. VELTEROP, J. and SCHULTES, E. An Academic Publishers’ GO FAIR Implementation Network (APIN). Information Services & Use [online]. 2020, vol. 40, pp. 333-341 [viewed 20 January 2021]. Available from:


VELTEROP, J. and SCHULTES, E. An Academic Publishers’ GO FAIR Implementation Network (APIN). Information Services & Use [online]. 2020, vol. 40, pp. 333-341 [viewed 20 January 2021]. Available from:

VELTEROP, J. and SCHULTES, E. “An Academic Publishers’ GO FAIR Implementation Network (APIN)”. 2021, SciELO Data [viewed 20 January 2021]. Available from:

WILKINSON, M., et al. he FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Scientific Data [online]. 2016, vol. 3, 160018 [viewed 20 January 2021]. Available from:

External links

IOS Press –


About Jan Velterop

Jan Velterop (1949), marine geophysicist who became a science publisher in the mid-1970s. He started his publishing career at Elsevier in Amsterdam. in 1990 he became director of a Dutch newspaper, but returned to international science publishing in 1993 at Academic Press in London, where he developed the first country-wide deal that gave electronic access to all AP journals to all institutes of higher education in the United Kingdom (later known as the BigDeal). He next joined Nature as director, but moved quickly on to help get BioMed Central off the ground. He participated in the Budapest Open Access Initiative. In 2005 he joined Springer, based in the UK as Director of Open Access. In 2008 he left to help further develop semantic approaches to accelerate scientific discovery. He is an active advocate of BOAI-compliant open access and of the use of microattribution, the hallmark of so-called “nanopublications”. He published several articles on both topics.


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

VELTEROP, J. Publishers and FAIR data [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2021 [viewed ]. Available from:


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