EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

FAIR Notebooks: opportunities and challenges for the geoscience community

Alejandro Coca-Castro1, Anne Fouilloux2, J. Scott Hosking1,3, and Environmental Data Science Book community4
Alejandro Coca-Castro et al.
  • 1The Alan Turing Institute, Data Science for Science and Humanities Research Programme, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 2Simula Research Laboratory, Oslo, Norway (
  • 3AI Lab, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 4Open Science Community, Global (

Making assets in scientific research Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) is still overwhelming for many scientists. When considered as an afterthought, FAIR research is indeed challenging, and we argue that its implementation is by far much easier when considered at an early stage and focusing on improving the researchers' day to day work practices. One key aspect is to bundle all the research artefacts in a FAIR Research Object (RO) using RoHub (, a Research Object management platform that enables researchers to collaboratively manage, share and preserve their research work (data, software, workflows, models, presentations, videos, articles, etc.). RoHub implements the full RO model and paradigm: resources associated to a particular research work are aggregated into a single FAIR digital object, and metadata relevant for understanding and interpreting the content is represented as semantic metadata that are user and machine readable. This approach provides the technical basis for implementing FAIR executable notebooks: the data and the computational environment can be “linked” to one or several FAIR notebooks that can then be executed via EGI Binder Service with scalable compute and storage capabilities. However, the need for defining clear practises for writing and publishing FAIR notebooks that can be reused to build upon new research has quickly arised. This is where a community of practice is required. The Environmental Data Science Book (or EDS Book) is a pan-european community-driven resource hosted on GitHub and powered by Jupyter Book. EDS Book provides practical guidelines and templates that help to translate research outputs into curated, interactive, shareable and reproducible executable notebooks. The quality of the FAIR notebooks is ensured by a collaborative and transparent reviewing process supported by GitHub related technologies. This approach provides immediate benefits for those who adopt it and can feed fruitful discussions to better define a reward system that would benefit Science and scientific communities. All the resources needed for understanding and executing the notebook are gathered into an executable Research Object in RoHub. To date, the community has successfully published ten FAIR notebooks covering a wide range of topics in environmental data science. The notebooks consume open-source python libraries e.g. intake, iris, xarray, hvplot for fetching, processing and interactively visualising environmental research.  While these notebooks are currently python-based, EDS Book supports other programming languages such as R and Julia, and we are aiming at engaging with computational notebooks communities alike towards improving the research practices in environmental science.

How to cite: Coca-Castro, A., Fouilloux, A., Hosking, J. S., and community, E. D. S. B.: FAIR Notebooks: opportunities and challenges for the geoscience community, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-13768,, 2023.