What is research data?

Research data are data "used as primary sources to support technical or scientific enquiry, research, scholarship, or artistic activity, and that are used as evidence in the research process and/or are commonly accepted in the research community as necessary to validate research findings and results.”

Research data. (n.d.) In CASRAI Dictionary.

Examples of research data

  • Text or Word documents, spreadsheets
  • Laboratory notebooks, field notebooks, diaries
  • Questionnaires, transcripts, codebooks
  • Test responses
  • Slides, artifacts, specimens, samples
  • Audiotapes, videotapes
  • Photographs, films
  • Curated thematic digital objects such as scholarly editions, text corpora, and thematic research collections
  • Database contents including video, audio, text, images
  • Models, algorithms, scripts
  • Contents of an application such as input, output, log files for analysis software, simulation software, schemas
  • Methodologies and workflows
  • Standard operating procedures and protocols

Why have an institutional research data management strategy?

A RDM strategy will improve the institutional capacity to support researchers in the management of research data and adhere to the emerging Tri-Agency policy requirements (SSHRC, NSERC, CHRI) - Portage Network

Template - Institutional Research Data Management Strategy
Prepared by the Portage Institutional RDM Strategy Working Group. A draft template and supporting guidance document that are designed to assist Canadian research institutions in developing an overarching strategy for RDM.

Examples of institutional RDM strategies: 

Monash University (Australie) Research Data Management Strategy and Strategic Plan 2012-2015

North Western University (Illinois) Research Data: Ownership, Retention, and Access

University of Minnesota (Minnesota) Research Data Management: Archiving, Ownership, Retention, Security, Storage, and Transfer


Further reading

Boston University Libraries. Research Data Management: What is “research data”?

Bryant, Rebecca, Brian Lavoie, and Constance Malpas. 2018. Incentives for Building University RDM Services.The Realities of Research Data Management, Part 3. Dublin, OH: OCLC Research. https://doi.org/10.25333/C3S62F.

Rans, J., Jones, S. (2013). ‘RDM strategy: moving from plans to action’. DCC RDM Services case studies. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/developing-rdm-services

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