What is research data?

Definition of research data from the Queensland University of Technology

"Research data means data in the form of facts, observations, images, computer program results, recordings, measurements or experiences on which an argument, theory, test or hypothesis, or other research output is based. It relates to data generated, collected, or used, during research projects, and in some cases may include the research output itself. Data may be numerical, descriptive, visual or tactile. It may be raw, cleaned or processed, and may be held in any format or media. Research data, in many disciplines, may by necessity include the software, algorithm, model and/or parameters, used to arrive at the research outcome, in addition to the raw data that the software, algorithm or model is applied to.

"With this broad definition, classification of research data is possible in many ways:

  • Format (image, video, measurement data, ...)
  • Source (experiment, survey, simulation, model, observation, compiled,...)
  • Degree of aggregation (raw, primary, secondary, tertiary data)

These different aspects lead to an individual understanding of "research data" in different subject communities.


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