Project Details WorldFAIR Chemistry: making IUPAC assets FAIR

Project No.: 
Start Date: 
01 June 2022
End Date: 


Coordinated by CODATA, with the Research Data Alliance association as a major partner, the WorldFAIR project will work with a set of case studies to advance implementation of the FAIR data principles, in particular those for Interoperability, and to develop a set of recommendations and a framework for FAIR assessment in a set of disciplines, or cross-disciplinary research areas.

One of the 11 case studies is Chemistry.

The goal is to align chemistry data standards with the FAIR data principles through:
● development of guidelines, tools and validation services that enable scientists to share and store data in a FAIR manner;
● addressing gaps in standards that currently restrain chemistry in both academic and industrial areas, in particular taking advantage of developments in AI/ML;
● engaging critical stakeholders in the adoption of standards and best practices to significantly increase the amount of chemical data available for all scientific disciplines.


Chemical substances touch on all areas of laboratory science and chemistry underlies many critical worldwide issues, including climate, health, food availability and sustainable development. Increased reporting of machine-readable chemical data will support active research in chemistry and related sciences worldwide, and will be essential to the development of the interdisciplinary science critical to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals and UNESCO’s priorities around Open Science. IUPAC is the world authority on chemical nomenclature, terminology, and standardized methods of measurement, and is engaging in a concerted effort through collaboration with the broader chemistry and data science communities to translate a range of assets and activities into the digital domain. Aligning standards development and implementation with the FAIR data principles will facilitate development of guidelines, tools and validation services that support scientists to share and store data in a FAIR manner and support the ability to compile and interpret data across scientific disciplines.

Three tasks are proposed:

Task 1. Chemistry Landscape Mapping
This task will involve key stakeholder groups to map the current landscape, including:
● detailed needs/gap analysis for chemistry data/metadata standards, synthesizing from outcomes of previous workshops, with particular emphasis on identified pain points for sharing and reusing chemical data in machine-enabled ways;
● mechanisms for improving data sharing of chemical structures and characterization data, considering the needs of different sectors, including business, government, academia, publishing, open source, AI/ML as well as parallel efforts/needs in related disciplines and broader data initiatives;
● best practices and tools for adoption of chemistry data principles and standards to inform local policy for institutions, repositories, publishers and others managing corpi of chemistry research data;
● evaluation strategies for assessing quality & accuracy of metadata, testing interoperability, examining efficacy of adoption mechanisms, and other facets of FAIRness; including recommendations for applying available FAIR assessment tools to chemical data resources.

Task 2. Chemistry Standards Implementation
This task will initiate and coordinate with relevant metadata standards projects and community tool building efforts to address critical gaps in implementation, including:
● specification of task-based utility services for IUPAC standards to address common data management needs across chemistry and other disciplines, including: chemical structure/representation validation/resolution; FAIR data management of spectroscopic and other characterization data; and machine interpretable authoritative periodic table data;
● collaboration venue for open source development, including prototype development with expert contributors and a mentorship program for young professional scientists.

Task 3. Stakeholder Pilots
The task will pilot services and guidelines with community stakeholders and domain initiatives, including:
● software developers (e.g., instruments, toolkits, ELNs), data/information dissemination and curation (e.g., repositories, publishers), and research/generation/reuse of data (e.g., pioneer research groups, data intensive research centers, institutional research data support services);
● targeted workshops with early adopters and neighboring disciplines to develop supporting materials;
● community sharing approach for outreach & education support (e.g., Open Educational Resources).



The over-arching project ‘WorldFAIR: Global cooperation on FAIR data policy and practice’ is a collaboration between 19 partners around the world including prominent research institutions and scholarly organisations from Africa, Australasia, Europe, and North and South America. This work will form the core of CODATA’s contribution to the International Science Council (ISC) Action Plan Project 2.1, Making Data Work For Cross-Domain Grand Challenges. The project will run for 24 months from 1 June 2022 and is funded by the European Commission through its Horizon Europe Framework Programme.

> See project announcement (News, 1 June 2022)

For a general introduction about the project, check the session WorldFAIR – Global cooperation on FAIR data policy and practice, at SciDataCon/International Data Week on 20 June 2022, 2:30 – 4:00 UTC
> Link to this event in the IUPAC calendar

Page last updated 1 June 2022