“What is a chemical?” IUPAC-Worldfair webinar

Webinar “What is a Chemical? Handling Chemical Data Across Disciplines” on 2022-09-22 tackled key issues of research data interoperability in global interdisciplinary context. This webinar was organised jointly by the IUPAC and the WorldFAIR project.

“What is a chemical” might sound trivial, but making data of chemicals interoperable and understandable in all fields of science where they are relevant is far from it. The webinar included presentations of experts from different sciences, presenting their own understanding on chemicals and their presentation in research data.

The recording of the webinar is available in the IUPAC Youtube channel:

This twitter thread posits some of the key findings and observations in the webinar:

‘Global cooperation on FAIR data policy and practice’ (WorldFAIR) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe project call HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ERA-01-01, grant agreement 101058393. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. 

Worldfair press release

The WorldFAIR project is a major new global collaboration between partners from thirteen countries across Africa, Australasia, Europe, and North and South America. WorldFAIR will advance implementation of the FAIR data principles, in particular those for Interoperability, by developing a cross-domain interoperability framework and recommendations for FAIR assessment in a set of eleven disciplines or cross-disciplinary research areas.

Colleagues were welcomed to this European Commission-funded project by Marta Truco Calbet, Project Officer, Research Executive Agency; and Javier Lopez Albacete from the EC’s Open Science Unit.  Project coordinator, CODATA and key partner, the Research Data Alliance outlined project governance and administration, before each of the case studies from a range of domain-specific and cross-domain research areas introduced their work package team and aims.


The WorldFAIR case studies have been carefully chosen to provide maximum impact. The objective of each case study is to develop an interoperability framework for their discipline or interdisciplinary research area. They are clustered in connected groups in order to maximise scope while retaining a critical mass of activity and allowing learning and cross-fertilisation of ideas. Collected from CODATA and RDA activities and partnerships, the case studies include leading organisations in a range of research areas, supporting the creation of outputs with global impact.

Simon Hodson
Simon Hodson, CODATA Executive Director

Encouragingly, the case studies began to identify connections points across work packages straight away.  CODATA Executive Director Simon Hodson, said, “The keystone recommendation of the Turning FAIR into Reality report, and perhaps the most challenging, is Recommendation Four, which calls for the development of interoperability frameworks, based on standards, for established domains and, in particular, for emerging cross-domain research areas of global importance. The WorldFAIR project offers a fantastic opportunity to explore how this may be done—and implemented—in a range of research fields. We are particularly excited that this project will enhance the European Research Area by taking a genuinely global approach and, exceptionally, includes institutions in countries generally outside the scope of EU funding. This is farsighted thinking on the part of the European Commission and leverages the strengths of CODATA and RDA, two organisations with international missions and reach.”

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. WorldFAIR will run for 24 months from 1 June 2022 and is funded by the European Commission through its Horizon Europe Framework Programme, project call HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ERA-01-01, grant agreement 101058393. 



IUPAC is the world authority on chemical nomenclature, terminology, and standardized methods of measurement, providing scientific expertise and a common language of chemistry through the contributions of 2,000 volunteer scientists worldwide across industry, academic and government sectors. IUPAC is engaging in a concerted effort through collaboration with the broader chemistry and data science communities to translate chemical communication standards into the digital domain with a goal to align standards development and implementation with the FAIR data principles.