Support offer #2: Enabling FAIR Signposting and RO-Crate for content/metadata discovery and consumption


The findability of a wide range of research objects and their related metadata are central to the FAIR principles. This support action combines two successful approaches (FAIR Signposting and RO-Crate) to help ensure that research objects can be packaged up with structured metadata to support reuse and that these packages can be exposed for improved findability. 

FAIR Signposting is a method to expose machine-actionable navigation links that indicate downloadable resources, types and attribution – particularly for scholarly and institutional repositories which use persistent identifiers like DOIs. Signposting makes explicit the links between a typical HTML landing page and the downloadable resources that are available for the research object described by that landing pages, including content resources and machine-readable metadata such as in RDF, although the method is technology-agnostic in terms of metadata formats. It also links to persistent identifiers, both for the research object and its authors. Signposting uses existing standards to achieve this: Web Links (RFC8288) conveyed using a simple HTTP header, HTML <link> elements, and/or Linksets (RFC9264).  All link relations used in Signposting are registered in the IANA Link Relations Registry. Signposting client libraries have been developed for Python and for Ruby, along with a set of benchmark tests for tools to verify parsing and compliance. Repositories currently implementing Signposting include Dataverse and WorkflowHub. Additional information regarding adoption status is available.

RO-Crate has been established as a community effort to practically achieve FAIR packaging of research objects (digital objects like data, methods, software, etc.) with their structured metadata. RO-Crate is based on well-established Web standards and FAIR principles. For its common metadata representations, RO-Crate builds on, a mature and general mark-up vocabulary used by search engines including Google Dataset Search. RO-Crate libraries are available for Javascript, Python, Ruby and Java, and in addition any RDF tooling supporting JSON-LD can be used (e.g. for knowledge graphs). RO-Crate is being adopted by a range of EU/EOSC projects and can be seen as a pragmatic implementation of the FAIR digital objects vision as highlighted by EOSC’s Interoperability Framework


The call is now closed

Successful applicants to Enabling FAIR Signposting and RO-Crate for content/metadata discovery and consumption:

  • Panayiotis Andreou, UCLan Cyprus/ESFRI SLICES-RI
  • Dieuwertje Bloemen, LIBIS @ KU Leuven
  • Chokri Ben Romdhane; CNUDST
  • Piero Campalani, Climate and Disaster Risk group – Center for Climate Change and Transformation, Eurac Research
  • Sara El-Gebali, FAIRPoints/SciLifeLab
  • Anne Fouilloux, Simula Research Laboratory
  • Hallvard Indgjerd, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo
  • Dragan Ivanovic, University of Novi Sad
  • Leyla Jael Castro, Knowledge Management Group, German National Library of Medicine (ZB MED) - Information Centre Life Sciences
  • Kathryn Cassidy, Digital Repository of Ireland, Royal Irish Academy
  • Matthias Löbe, Institute for Medical Informatics (IMISE), University of Leipzig representing NFDI4Health
  • Rory MacNeil, Research Space
  • Balázs Pataki, Department of Distributed Systems, Computing and Automation Research Institute (SZTAKI)
  • Óscar Sánchez Martínez, Dialnet Foundation


In this offer we will support work towards these goals:

  • Add signposting support at prototype level, and we would implement a link of the type for RO-Crate. 
  • A Web service or browser plugin that given URL to any landing page with FAIR Signposting can present a consistent list of identifiers, authors, licence, downloads, metadata. 
  • Repositories to support deposits of RO-Crate to pick up metadata. 
  • Repositories to add FAIR Signposting headers for machine navigation
  • Support for academic publishers of scholarly articles and datasets to provide FAIR Signposting 
  • Prototyping of additional open source client libraries for FAIR Signposting (e.g. Javascript) 
  • FAIR Signposting or RO-Crate contributions to open source projects (e.g. Dataverse, Invenio RDM, RDF libraries and Linked Data platforms)
  • Repositories to add and document explicit FAIR Signposting to their existing structured metadata, e.g. from landing page to persistent identifier and JSON-LD metadata
  • Repositories to add RO-Crate export of their deposit, embedding any metadata
  • Demonstration of FAIR Signposting to navigate to downloadable semantic resources (e.g. RO-Crate, RDF data dumps)
  • Adding FAIR Signposting in Consumption in Linked Data platforms
  • Assistance with development and improvement of training material and specifications.
  • Community support and advocacy of FAIR Signposting and RO-Crate to increase potential uptake of technologies


Support offer details

Who should apply

Applicants should be actively involved in the development, operation and/or management of repositories that host research objects, including, but not necessarily limited, to research data. Ideally, the group of participants should consist of about 50% technical developers and 50% information architects.

Skills needed to participate

A good working knowledge as a developer or information architect of HTTP, REST, and web standards. Ideally applicants will also have some experience with JSON and Tuition on methods and specifications will be provided as part of the support action.  

Virtual workshops and expected homework

  • Introductory one hour session on the support programme processes (communication channels, how to claim funds). 
    • 12 September 2023 @ 11:00-12:00 CET / 09:00-10:00 UTC
  • Virtual half-day kick-off workshop: Introduction to Signposting and RO-Crate technologies. This kick-off workshop will focus on networking and lightning talks from the support providers on potential implementation efforts. The session will allow for Q&A regarding the technologies and discussion of implementation proposals. The expected outcomes for this workshop are an understanding of the Signposting and RO-Crate technologies, teams and their skills, and initial ideas for implementation.
    • 25 September 2023 @ 10:00-13:30 CET / 08:00-11:30 UTC
  • Virtual half-day brainstorming and scoping workshop: This workshop will include a show & tell of early prototypes and implementation plans from the team or collaborating groups of teams. Collaborative brainstorming and final scoping of homework. The expected outcomes for this session are a refined plan for homework per team or collaborating groups of teams.
    • 09 October 2023 @ 10:00-13:30 CET / 08:00-11:30 UTC
  • Virtual half-day reporting workshop: Teams or groups of collaborating teams  demonstrate their implementation results. Discussions of challenges, lessons learnt, next steps, and advice for future implementations. The expected outcomes from this session include sharing demonstrations, lessons learnt and advice for future implementers.
    • 07 November 2023 @ 13:00-16:30 CET / 12:00-15:30 UTC
  • Exit interview (one hour approximately) which will form the basis of a co-produced Implementation Story.
    • Date/time to be decided

Support providers and mentors 

  • RO-Crate: Stian Soiland-Reyes (University of Manchester), Daniel Garijo (Universidad Politecnica de Madrid) 
  • FAIR Signposting: Herbert Van de Sompel (DANS)

What are the requirements from participants?

We anticipate that successful applicants will need to allocate 5 days to undertake this support action. The five days will include participation in three half-day joint workshops and the necessary pre-event preparation and post-event interview. 

During the first workshop, participants will be introduced to the FAIR Signposting and RO-Crate technologies and  build a common understanding of the goals of this call.

In between the first and second workshops (approximately 1 week), participants will develop their implementation ideas, possibly early prototypes and documentation dive-ins. Participants are not competing, but can collaborate throughout the action using a dedicated Slack server, encouraging any cross-implementation integration. 

In the intermediate scoping session, participants present briefly their plans, followed by collaborative brainstorming across participants and with FAIR-IMPACT support to mature the concrete plans.

In the next 3 weeks, participants will prototype their approaches and implementations, and prepare for an internal demonstration within the action. The asynchronous support and Slack discussions will continue, in addition to a regular weekly office hour for 1-1 FAIR-IMPACT support. 

In the final half-day reporting workshop, each participant demonstrates their approach, and the group discuss future plans and potential collaboration beyond FAIR-IMPACT.  

FAIR-IMPACT will then prepare a public report which participants can revise. Participants will also be invited to optionally submit a short pre-recorded video for dissemination in a FAIR Implementation webinar.

What FAIR-IMPACT will provide to enable participation

  • 2500 euros to support staff time for each team to participate. Funds will be paid upon successful completion of the support action. The funding provided to enable participation is a flat rate that will be provided to each team independently of the number of resources that will be assessed by the applicants during the challenge or the size of the team taking part (permitting relevant in-kind contribution of additional applicant effort).
  • Deeper understanding of the technologies and their benefits
  • Guidance for practical scoping of the desired implementations
  • Support via Slack and regular office hours
  • Networking and influencing with FAIR-IMPACT and EOSC development
  • Opportunity to share with and learn from their peers in a challenge approach.
  • Public reporting of session outcomes and plans (e.g. FAIR-IMPACT website, deliverable, workshop presentations, articles, webinars)
  • Promotion of production-grade implementations and use cases (e.g., RO-Crate, FAIR-IMPACT Implementation Framework)

What we expect from participants

  • Participation in three virtual sessions (mandatory) and participating with an identified list of resources that will be evaluated during the challenge 
  • Development of an action plan to achieve one or more of the agreed goals
  • Implementation or prototyping of FAIR Signposting and/or RO-Crate approach to achieve goal (e.g. software development, integration, modelling, documentation)
  • Participation in a mandatory exit interview which will result in an published Implementation Story to share real life experiences in making FAIR a reality. 
  • Contribution to follow-up dissemination in reporting and (optional) webinars. 
How many applicants will be supported?  A maximum of 15 individuals or small teams will be supported to participate in this support action.


Supporting materials


Timeline for first open call

Call launch

31 March 2023

Deadline for applications

1 June 2023

Selection of applicants

End of June 2023

Applicants informed of decision

Beginning of July 2023

Expected start date for support actions

The start date will vary depending on the specific support action. However we anticipate that these will begin in autumn 2023. 

Who can apply? 

This call is open to individuals, groups or organisations from public and private research-performing organisations, including:

  • Research-performing organisations and research infrastructures;  
  • Repositories, data and metadata service providers; 
  • Representatives of national and international level initiatives. 

Applicants must reside and/or work in an EU or Associated Country for the duration of the grant. A key aim for FAIR-IMPACT is to prioritise support for organisations, groups, and/or individuals based in countries or representing domains that are currently less advanced in terms of their FAIR enabling capacity2.

The call is not open to individuals or groups based at any of the FAIR-IMPACT project partner organisations nor to individuals who hold the status of FAIR Champions under FAIR-IMPACT. 


The call is now closed