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The FAIR guiding principles for data stewardship: fair enough?

European Journal of Human Geneticsvolume 26pages931936 (2018) | Download Citation



The FAIR guiding principles for research data stewardship (findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability) look set to become a cornerstone of research in the life sciences. A critical appraisal of these principles in light of ongoing discussions and developments about data sharing is in order. The FAIR principles point the way forward for facilitating data sharing more systematically—provided that a number of ethical, methodological, and organisational challenges are addressed as well.

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Boeckhout’s work was financially supported by BBMRI-NL, a Research Infrastructure financed by the Dutch government (NWO), no. 184033111. Thanks to the anonymous reviewers and to Jan-Willem Boiten for comments on a draft version.

Author contributions

MB came up with the initial idea for this paper. The idea was elaborated on in discussion with GZ and ALB. MB led the drafting process, to which GZ and ALB contributed with revisions, additions and comments in a number of iterations. The authors provide complimentary expertise to the topic: MB is a philosopher and sociologist of science by training; GZ is an epidemiologist and biobanker; ALB is professor in the ethics of biomedical innovation. MB is the guarantor of the article.

Author information


  1. Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Department of Medical Humanities, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

    • Martin Boeckhout
    •  & Annelien L. Bredenoord
  2. Parelsnoer Institute, Utrecht, The Netherlands

    • Gerhard A. Zielhuis
  3. Radboud Biobank, Radboud university medical center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

    • Gerhard A. Zielhuis
  4. Department for Health Evidence, Radboud university medical center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

    • Gerhard A. Zielhuis


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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Martin Boeckhout.

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