FAIR Vocabularies

A website for the guidelines for FAIR vocabularies.


Web Standards

Make vocabulary FAIR



View Organization on Github

About the FAIR vocabularies project

This website and the work related to FAIR vocabularies presented here has been produced by a working group, which started in the Dagstuhl workshop on “Interoperability of Metadata Standards in Cross-Domain Science, Health and Social Science Applications” organised by CODATA and DDI.

The contributors to this work are:


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.


Panel on Convergence within the FAIR Convergence Symposium

Guidelines for FAIR vocabularies presented by Simon Cox and Alejandra Gonzalez-Beltran

Slides citation: Simon J D Cox, & Alejandra N Gonzalez Beltran. (2020, November). Guidelines for FAIR Vocabularies. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4297906

Session on FAIR vocabularies and vocabulary services