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Storage and Re-Use of Data

Documentation and metadata

The term metadata refers to descriptive information on the materials in question that outlines their essential details.Metadata contain information on the subject of the material and the methods of its collection. Metadata indicates the file format(s) of the materials and the software needed to access them. Metadata must also contain information on the producers of the data, the funders of the research and any legal issues such as access rights pertaining to the materials.

Appropriate metadata makes the material easy to find and use even long after its original use. 

Further information: List of information included in metadata (MIT Library)

Sharing and publishing of data

Sharing research materials supports collaboration between research groups and disciplines as well as increases the transparency of research by allowing the scientific community access to the research materials used. Published data also accumulate citations, thus improving the impact of the research.

It is recommended that materials be made public under licences with which researchers can determine the publicity of and access rights to their research data. Licences (e.g., Creative Commons) determine the rights of the creators and users of the material, thus promoting the reuse of the data.

Further information: Sharing data (ATT)

Storing data

Attention should focus on the lifespan and subsequent use of the materials throughout the research process. Researchers should ensure the preservation of their data both during and after the research process. Various local, national and international data storage services are available. The selection of the service depends on, for example, the joint use of the material (if any) , the length of the storage period as well as other terms and conditions, such as licences, determined by the service provider.

Further information: Open Science and Research Handbook, Preservation of data
Further information: Data storage services at Flamma

Storage formats in long-term preservation

Attention should focus on the format in which the data are stored to ensure their usability even after extended periods of time. Recommended file formats for subsequent use of the material include those that are used extensively in the scientific community and supported by a variety of software.

Further information: File formats that ensure the preservation of data (MIT Libraries)

Retrieval and re-use of data

Sufficient metadata and functional search services enable the efficient use of the data in subsequent research projects. Universities, research institutes and similar organisations offer search services for their materials. The Etsin Metadata Catalogue, for example, enables researchers to retrieve and use research data with the help of metadata. Any subsequent use of research data is usually subject to terms and conditions pertaining to, for example, their publicity or the purposes for which they can be used.

Citing data

Research data are cited according to the same principles as other materials. References should indicate, among others, the creator and editor (if any) of the data as well as the dataset title, publication date, publisher and location.

Further information: How to cite data (MSU Libraries)

Further information: How to cite datasets and link them to publications: a guide at the Digital Curation Centre