Leeds University Library

What is research data?

The University of Edinburgh, Research Data Management website provides some very useful information on Research data:

Classification of research data

Research data can be generated for different purposes and through different processes (Research Information Network classification):

    • Observational: data captured in real-time, usually irreplaceable. For example, sensor data, survey data, sample data, neuroimages.
    • Experimental: ldata from lab equipment, often reproducible, but can be expensive. For example, gene sequences, chromatograms, toroid magnetic field data.
    • Simulation: data generated from test models where model and metadata are more important than output data. For example, climate models, economic models.
    • Derived or compiled: data is reproducible but expensive. For example, text and data mining, compiled database, 3D models.
    • Reference or canonical: a (static or organic) conglomeration or collection of smaller (peer-reviewed) datasets, most probably published and curated. For example, gene sequence databanks, chemical structures, or spatial data portals.

Research data (traditional and electronic research) may include all of the following:

      • Documents (text, Word), spreadsheets
      • Laboratory notebooks, field notebooks, diaries
      • Questionnaires, transcripts, codebooks
      • Audiotapes, videotapes
      • Photographs, films
      • Test responses
      • Slides, artefacts, specimens, samples
      • Collection of digital objects acquired and generated during the process of research
      • Data files
      • Database contents (video, audio, text, images)
      • Models, algorithms, scripts
      • Contents of an application (input, output, logfiles for analysis software, simulation software, schemas)
      • Methodologies and workflows
      • Standard operating procedures and protocols