Geoscience Australia and FAIR data principles

Last updated:7 June 2023

Geoscience Australia is part of the international research community and as such supports FAIR data principles (data that is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). More information on how Geoscience Australia meets these principles is outlined below.


F1. (meta)data are assigned a globally unique and eternally persistent identifier.

  • GA mints DOIs for its data products and stores this information in eCAT - in addition to DOIs (resource identifiers) we may also include UUIDs as metadata identifiers

F2. data are described with rich metadata.

  • GA requires ISO19115 metadata in eCAT for all data products and has the ability to store additional metadata when appropriate - GA implemented its own metadata profile (ISO Compliant) which has a richer content which covers GA's business requirements and compliancy with government regulations with mandatory recording of the lineage, legal and security constraints, distribution and storage information, source information and persistent Ids - all of which are optional in the ISO19115

F3. (meta)data are registered or indexed in a searchable resource.

  • All GA data products are registered in eCAT and have associated metadata. This metadata is searchable directly in eCAT, through csw services, or through one of the many aggregate data catalogues that harvests GA records

F4. metadata specify the data identifier.

  • All eCAT records have data identifiers, including DOIs for published data products


A1 (meta)data are retrievable by their identifier using a standardised communications protocol.

  • eCAT records for all GA data products are retrievable using the data identifier and the http communications protocol

A1.1 the protocol is open, free, and universally implementable.

  • The http protocol is open, free, and universally implementable

A1.2 the protocol allows for an authentication and authorisation procedure, where necessary.

  • The majority of GA data is free and open and no authentication and authorisation procedure is necessary. GA is currently exploring mechanisms for providing authentication and authorisation procedures, where necessary - legal and security constraints are recorded for each resource to avoid any ambiguity when the technical implementation of the protocol is available.


I1. (meta)data use a formal, accessible, shared, and broadly applicable language for knowledge representation.

  • Both metadata and data follow international standards where available. Metadata are stored following ISO19115-1 (19115-3) convention

I2. (meta)data use vocabularies that follow FAIR principles.

  • GA metadata stored within eCAT and GA database and NetCDF header information use vocabularies by preference. The process of replacing unconstrained text with vocabularies is ongoing, following GA prioritisation

I3. (meta)data include qualified references to other (meta)data.

  • eCAT contains links (qualified references) to other related data. The number of these links continues to be increased as time and resources permit


R1. meta(data) have a plurality of accurate and relevant attributes.

  • GA requires full ISO19115 metadata in eCAT for all data products and has the ability to store additional metadata when appropriate

R1.1. (meta)data are released with a clear and accessible data usage license.

  • GA requires eCAT records for data products to include license information

R1.2. (meta)data are associated with their provenance.

  • All eCAT records contain ISO19115 data lineage information, a text-based description of provenance.

R1.3. (meta)data meet domain-relevant community standards.

  • Both metadata and data follow international domain-relevant standards where available. Metadata are stored following ISO19115 convention