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Research Data Management: Defining Research Data

Defining Research data

Giving an authoritative definition to “research data” is challenging. Different disciplines usually develop their own preferred definition which is appropriate and suitable for their domain.

Some higher education institutions around the world have developed their definition in developing their policy on research data.

Definition by Nanyang Technological University

“Research data are data in whatever formats or form collected, observed, generated, created and obtained during the entire course of a research project. This would include numerical, descriptive, aural, visual or physical forms recorded by the researcher, generated by equipment and derived from models, simulations.”

(Source: NTU Research Data Policy)

Definition by National Medical Research Council 

The National Medical Research Council (NMRC) from Ministry of Health (MOH) in Singapore has defined it in its 'Research Data Governance and Sharing' briefing slides presented in March 2015 data sharing roadshows as:

"Recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to document and support research findings."

(Source: National Medical Research Council)

Further readings:


An Introduction to the Basics of Research Data

An animated video that explains the basics of research data.

(Source: Created by Louise Patterton of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa)