Ten Simple Rules for making a vocabulary FAIR

Simon J D Cox, Alejandra N Gonzalez-Beltran, Barbara Magagna, Maria-Cristina Marinescu

We present ten simple rules that support converting a legacy vocabulary -- a list of terms available in a print-based glossary or table not accessible using web standards -- into a FAIR vocabulary. Various pathways may be followed to publish the FAIR vocabulary, but we emphasise particularly the goal of providing a distinct IRI for each term or concept. A standard representation of the concept should be returned when the individual IRI is de-referenced, using SKOS or OWL serialised in an RDF-based representation for machine-interchange, or in a web-page for human consumption. Guidelines for vocabulary and item metadata are provided, as well as development and maintenance considerations. By following these rules you can achieve the outcome of converting a legacy vocabulary into a standalone FAIR vocabulary, which can be used for unambiguous data annotation. In turn, this increases data interoperability and enables data integration.

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