16 March 2020

Six FAIR data experts have been welcomed into the European Group of FAIR Champions as a result of the open call launched late in 2019. Now numbering 11 FAIR ambassadors from around Europe, the EGFC represent FAIRsFAIR stakeholders, provide advice on operational challenges, and promote the adoption of FAIR data policies.

  • Barbara Sierman, Digital Preservation Manager of the KB Library in the Netherlands, and 2018 recipient of a Digital Preservation Coalition Fellow Award for her contributions to digital preservation, is active in the audit and certification areas and co-authored the ISO 16363 standard on Trustworthy repositories. A well-known expert on the OAIS standard, Barbara has participated in European projects such as Planets, SCAPE and APARSEN, acting as project lead in several work packages. She also plays a key role in the Dutch Digital Heritage Network where she develops strategies to promote digital preservation and provides ongoing training. 


  • Prof Eetu Mäkelä, from the University of Helsinki, is a computer scientist and data integration expert who researches requirements and develops tools including massive open datasets for data-centric scholarship in the digital humanities and computational social science fields. He has received multiple awards for  contributions to open data and open science, including the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture award for innovative usage of open data. Completely familiar with the technical requirements for and the current approaches to making data interoperable and reusable, Prof Mäkelä also has a deep understanding of the complexity associated with relating these methodologies to the actual needs of social science researchers. 


  • Isabel Bernal has managed DIGITAL.CSIC, the Open Access repository of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) since 2010. She has a background in Library Science, International Relations, Economics and History and her expertise spans Open Science with a particular focus on repositories, research data management, copyright issues and research assessment, as well as access to scholarly resources in developing and transitioning countries. Her extensive experience in managing data across the humanities, and social and life sciences means that Isabel can make a concrete contribution to the research data management challenges faced by multidisciplinary repositories. 


  • As Librarian at Sweden’s Lund University Library, Maria Johnsson combines hands-on support to academic researchers with close involvement in the development of the university’s infrastructure and services for research data management (RDM). She also works with the research infrastructure for climate ICOS Carbon Portal and on cross-disciplinary research data related European projects including ENVRIPlus and ENVRI FAIR. In ENVRI FAIR. Maria gives regular presentations to researchers on FAIR principles, is a constant presence at seminars and workshops and in 2019 participated in the course “GO FAIR Data stewardship” organised by GO FAIR through NEIC. 


  • Dr Mark Allen is the Director of the Strasbourg Astronomical Data Centre (CDS), the data reference hub for the astronomy research community. Committed to Open Science and FAIR data principles, Mark has a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the Australian National University, and undertook post-doctoral work at the Space Telescope Science Institute before joining the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) as a scientific researcher. He has chaired the International Virtual Observatory Alliance, recognised as a pioneer in making data FAIR, and currently leads a work package in the European funded ESCAPE project focused on FAIR data in astronomy, astroparticle physics and accelerator particle physics. 


  • Eefke Smit is Director of Standards and Technology at the International STM Association www.stm-assoc.org, a trade body for publishers. A pioneer in academic and professional publishing with more than 20 years’ experience, Eefke has managed several large internet platforms and also played a key role in EU-funded projects including ODE (Opportunities for Data Exchange, 2011-2013), PARSE (2010-2011) and its successor APARSEN (2011 – 2014), co-authoring amongst others the NISO recommended best practice on Supplemental Journal Article Materials and the FORCE11 Data Citation principles. Eefke is one of the founders and co-chairs of the RDA Interest Group Data Publishing, involved in establishing SCHOLIX. 



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