In the realms of both science and industry, the principles of FAIR data (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) have emerged as a crucial foundation for advancing research and innovation. In this context, research organizations, researchers, and managers need objective measures and guidance to achieve a reasonable level of FAIRness and to help interpret aspects of FAIRness achieved by researchers. The ability to efficiently access and utilize data is pivotal in driving progress, and adherence to FAIR principles is a key determinant to developing data quality and utility.
In our effort to facilitate the widespread adoption of FAIR data principles, we engaged with the data expert community and adopted a well-established self-assessment methodology. We tailored this methodology to the specific needs and challenges faced by researchers in the energy storage field, especially in terms of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability of data (incl. metadata). Our approach involved an extensive survey through CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) technique, administered to the research community, aiming to pinpoint areas where improvements in FAIR data practices were most needed.
The results of our assessment highlighted an overarching issue: a significant portion of research institutions within the energy storage community are not sufficiently aware and do not have established agreements about the depth of implementing the FAIR data principles. In consequence, the energy storage community does not sufficiently adhere to FAIR data principles at this point. This finding underlines a critical gap in the accessibility, interoperability and usable and reusable of data within the field, which hampers progress and collaboration. Further analysis of the data unveiled the specific challenges and obstacles that hinder compliance with FAIR data principles. These difficulties often stem from a lack of awareness, inadequate infrastructure, and limited resources. Our study also revealed a common interest among researchers in enhancing FAIR data practices within their institutions and a growing sensitivity to the importance of an ad hoc data management plan to applying FAIRness principles, constructing metadata and ontologies. and enhancing data accessibility, interoperability, and reusability for the benefit of researchers and stakeholders.
In conclusion, the assessment showed most laboratories are not prepared to embrace the FAIR principles, and much still depends on the capabilities and interests of individual researchers. Despite this general outcome, a small group of energy storage laboratories has made strides in the field of open science and FAIR data. This group of laboratories could serve as the nucleus from which to develop best practices and standards within the energy storage community. Moreover, our research indicates a clear need for intervention and education within the energy storage research community to promote the adoption of FAIR data principles. By addressing the challenges identified and increasing awareness of the benefits of FAIR data, we can empower researchers to benefit from sharing their data and most importantly accelerate research and innovation in the field of energy storage.