FAIR data principles

The FAIR data principles for health data analytics

The FAIR data principles are guiding principles to promote the use and reuse of analytical data sets to improve systems and processes, fuel research and generate knowledge.

FAIR data sets are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.

  • Findable – Data sets should be easy to find for both humans and computers. Each asset is assigned a persistent identifier and metadata to make it easily located.
  • Accessible - Once you have found the data, it should be easy to access, and authorisation processes should be clear. Common protocols, platforms and access methods make data readily available to the intended audience.
  • Interoperable – Data should be easily combined with other data and work within standard applications. Standard terminologies, code sets and exchange formats ensure that data can be shared and used in this way.
  • Reusable – Data sets should be well-described so that they can be used for multiple purposes. Being clear about the provenance of the data set and any licensing requirements makes this possible.

The FAIR data principles are endorsed by HISO as part of the contribution of standards to a data-driven health and disability system in Aotearoa New Zealand. Health providers and other data holders should observe the FAIR data principles in the way that data is made available as a public good. The principles complement our information governance guidelines and commitments to data protection and use, privacy, social licence and Māori data sovereignty.

The Health and Disability System Review 2020 highlights the importance of analytical data to an equitable and high performing system:

  • The system needs to be better informed at every level by robust and timely data that is readily accessible to all who work in the system and all who use the system
  • Quality, standardised data is critical for decision making and research that require timely access and analytical capacity to extract meaningful information from large data sets
  • The expectation is that data should, with the appropriate approvals, be more routinely and consistently shared with consumers, other providers, policy makers and those responsible for ensuring the system performs well and meets population health needs.

The FAIR data principles were developed at an international science workshop at the Lorentz Centre at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in 2015. The principles are recognised by many organisations around the world, including the European Commission, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States and the Australian National Data Service. In New Zealand, the FAIR data principles are endorsed by data.govt.nz to maximise the value of publicly-held data to our society and economy.

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