Why FAIR data?
The prospects for the digitalization of the energy sector have been stated by many and for quite some time now. Business opportunities appear to be large. Science and R&D could be propelled enormously, with these innovations being able to lead into a new technology revolution. This revolution has the potential to be a grand energy transition, inclusive of the vision of a green and just transition. However, the advertised dreams will not become a reality unless the challenges of data accessibility, data interoperability, and data reusability are solved.
This is precisely what the EERAdata project undertakes, from the perspective of low carbon researchers. Currently, it is quite unclear how, and even more importantly, who is going to invest in making data fit for playing its designated role. Business models for FAIR and open energy data are entirely lacking. The problem starts with the difficulties in answering “How to estimate the value that lies in energy data?” Answering the question, however, is a precondition for functioning energy data markets. Understanding the factors that drive the value of data, in general, is necessary to unpack data management costs.
For most researchers, the implementation of FAIR and open data principles continues to be an expensive side activity with few accompanying merits. Furthermore, institutions frequently assign general data administrators who often lack domain expertise and hence offer little support. As a result, the overall commitment to FAIR and open data among low carbon researchers is mediocre. A lost potential for scaling up valuable lessons learned from use cases and projects ensues. The limited resources available for research projects further compounds the problem. Finally, funding policies require the minimization and mitigation of risks. Yet, with the implementation of FAIR and open data principles, uncharted territory is to be explored, and the business sector demonstrates that it is possible to attract hundreds of companies to join the effort.