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Research Vocabularies Australia


A controlled vocabulary reflects agreement on terminology used to label concepts. When research communities agree to use common language for the concepts in datasets, then the discovery, linking, understanding and reuse of research data are improved.

Research Vocabularies Australia (RVA) makes it easy to find and use controlled vocabularies used in research. It also makes it possible for Australian research organisations to publish, re-purpose, create, and manage their own controlled vocabularies. Vocabularies change over time, so the service enables management of new versions while retaining superseded versions.

Over time the portal aims to describe any controlled vocabularies commonly used by or relevant to Australian researchers. Some vocabularies are also accessible directly from this portal (ie downloadable and queryable); some are to be accessed elsewhere and are simply described here. ANDS can work with research organisations to enable software interaction with hosted vocabularies, and to develop the service in response to need.

Ways of using the service

Use vocabularies

  • Find and learn about controlled vocabularies relevant to research.
  • Access those vocabularies and reuse them in your community.
  • Integrate vocabularies into your local information systems at a technical level.
  • Use Vocabularies

Provide vocabularies

  • Upload and describe a vocabulary to share with others.
  • Make a vocabulary machine readable (more easily integrated into other's systems).
  • Create new or import existing vocabularies and manage them with your community's input.
    Provide Vocabularies


Anyone can search, browse and access the vocabularies described in the RVA portal. You can also self-register to describe or upload a vocabulary.

There is no cost to use this service.

Access to the editor is restricted to ANDS partner institutions (Australian research organisations, including universities, research institutes, collecting organisations and government agencies). To use the RVA editor (to create a new machine-readable vocabulary) you will need to register.  Email ANDS at to sign up for a free account.


For more information, ideas for improvements, or issues using the service, email