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What is research data?

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What is research data Guide

This Guide is intended for those in universities and other research institutions needing a definition of research data. This may be in various contexts: to develop policies, procedures and planning strategies relating to research data management within the institution, to validate research findings, to determine possible research inputs or to contribute metadata to Research Data Australia.

The Guide covers:

  • Defining research data
  • Developing policies and plans
  • 'Research data' vs 'primary materials'
  • Validating research findings
  • Determining research inputs
  • Contributing metadata about research collections to Research Data Australia

Key messages:

  • Any definition of research data is likely to depend on the context in which the question is asked.
  • The dividing line between 'research data' and 'primary materials' will not be clear in many cases.
  • Research data, from the point of view of the institution with a responsibility for managing the data includes:
    • all data which is created by researchers in the course of their work, and for which the institution has a curatorial responsibility for at least as long as the Code and relevant archives/record keeping acts require, and
    • third-party data which may have originated within the institution or come from elsewhere.
  • ANDS has intentionally left the definition of research data open to be as inclusive as possible.
  • Research Data Australia accepts records of data that are considered to be important to the Australian research community, rather than to an established definition of what constitutes research data.

What is research data Guide