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Research Data

A precise definition of research data and their differentiation from other data is complex
  • German Research Foundation (DFG):
    Research data is defined by the DFG as data generated in the course of a research project, e.g. source research, experiments, measurements, data collection or surveys, that can be stored in a digital and electronic format. (cf. DFG 2010, German only)
  • Report of the European Commission Public Consultation on Open Research Data:
    [...] defining research data as potentially all data, and others limiting it to data that is the product of research and/or data that is used for research. (EU, 2013)
  • Project re3data:
    Research data is digitally available data that is collected or generated within the framework of research projects (in the broadest sense) and forms the basis of research results, publications, etc.




The range of research data can be represented in a ternary system (triangle). Some typical fields of research data are shown as examples. RD_Triangle


RD_Tetraeder Ownership rights and the resulting rights of use are also more diverse than in scientific publications. The illustration depicts four parties that might be involved in the granting of rights of use.


Research data is often inhomogeneous and may have very differentiated structures, comparable to a tree on whose branches the researchers work and branch them further. The "fruits" of the tree may be e.g. publications.



Further information on individual phases of research data management can also be found at  forschungsdaten.info. This website is developed and maintained by research institutions of the state of Baden-Württemberg, with the active participation of KIT.