Geochemistry Scientific Content Component (Project Milestone)

Prent, Alexander; Wyborn, Lesley; Farrington, Rebecca; Lehnert, Kerstin; Klöcking, Marthe; Elger, Kirsten; Hezel, Dominik NFDI4Earth; ter Maat, Geertje; Profeta, Lucia

WorldFAIR Milestone 6, reported here, specifies work done and being undertaken for Deliverable 5.2 (due month 20), ‘Geochemistry Methodology and Outreach’, which has the following description: “This deliverable will outline the methodology used to develop and update FIPs and promulgate knowledge of them, including publishers to ensure the quality, interoperability and reusability of data in publications”. 

As geochemical data is collected on a diversity of natural and synthetic samples (rocks, sediments, minerals, fossils, meteorites, cosmic dust, fluids, gases, etc), from the Earth or other planetary bodies, there is an incredible range of analytical instruments used and hundreds of analytical techniques applied. This results in a community with many subdisciplines that produce typically ‘long tail’ data – data that are highly specific and small in volume. The community and the data produced are heterogeneous and overlaps of common minimum variables are scarce. 

We conclude that developing a single FAIR Implementation Profile (FIP) for all geochemical data will not be possible; rather, there will need to be multiple linked FIPs for geochemistry subdisciplines and at multiple levels of granularity. As a FIP is underpinned by FAIR Enabling Resources (FERs), many such FERs need to be publicly available or need to be published. By specifying any FER(s) that accompany each FAIR principle within the individual FIP, users of any geochemical dataset/database will have accurate documentation for each FAIR Principles, and thus enhance machine readability.

This Milestone describes progress towards developing a methodology designed to assist in defining the individual FERs required to fully describe the minimum scientific and technical variables used to describe any geochemical analysis. These FERs will enable the generation of multiple FIPs, facilitating published results to be reproduced and shared globally with sufficient metadata to make any geochemical resource FAIR for both humans and machines. 

This Milestone report then discusses how the components of this methodology are being executed in the community, discusses resulting progress towards minimum common variables of samples, discusses how to make best practices for geochemical methods available online and specifies a set of vocabularies published to describe methodologies.

The report is available on Zenodo.

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