Research Data Guide

Managing research data

Create and publish metadata using Qvain

Metadata published in international repositories

In many reseach fields and disciplines there are long traditions to publish metadata in international and/or  discipline specific repositories like FigshareThe Cambridge Structural DatabaseZenodoRCSB-PDBStrasbourg Astronomical Data Center

Trusted repositories make data  findable and citable in publications.

Vocabularies and ontologies

  • Finto: Finnish service for the publication and utilization of vocabularies, ontologies and classifications
  • Basic registry of thesauri, ontologies and classification Bartoc
  • Linked Open Vocabularies LOV
  • Ontology search OLS
  • ELSST - a multilingual thesaurus

Metadata and documentation explained

Metadata and documentation are about labeling, descriping and annotating data.  It helps 

  • to remember the details later
  • to help others understand your research
  • to verify research findings
  • to reproduce and/or replicate data

Discoverable metadata  - which should be always open - can broadly be broken into e.g.

  • Descriptive metadata: Enables indexing, discovery and retrieval (e.g. title, subject, keywords)
  • Technical metadata: Describes how a dataset was produced, structured and how data should be used and cited
  • Administrative  metadata: Enables access and management of data (e.g. rights, timestamp of transaction)
  • Structural (e.g. data directory)

Discoverable metadata is always highly structured and machine-readable data about data.It is supplemented with documentation e.g.laboratory diaries, code books, field notes, questionnaires; documentation of settings and calibrations of instruments; description of research method. 

Documentation is done in different levels like research project (e.g. methodology), file level  (e.g. relationships between files)  and variable/item level (e.g. how variable was generated).  Openness level of documentation varies from open to limited (controlled, restricted) access.

Examples of documentation forms: Laboratory Notebook, Field Notebook, or Research Notebook; e-Lab Notebook (ELN); Readme.txt; Templates: Data Sheet, Collection Sheet, or Field Sheet; Data Dictionary; Codebook; Metadata Schema, Standard, or Taxonomy: Metadata Schema, Standard, or Taxonomy.  Read more in Briney, Kristin A. (2022) Research Data Documentation Methods. [Teaching Resource] (Unpublished)

UOulu data helpdesk


Data Stewards at UOulu

Question and comments related to this LibGuide:


Metadata standards

  • The Data Documentation Initiative (DDI)
    • An international standard for describing the data produced by surveys and other observational methods in the social, behavioral, economic, and health sciences. DDI is a free standard that can document and manage different stages in the research data lifecycle, such as conceptualization, collection, processing, distribution, discovery, and archiving. Documenting data with DDI facilitates understanding, interpretation, and use -- by people, software systems, and computer networks.
  • Eurostat metadata
    • Euro-SDMX metadata structure, classifications, legislation and methodology, concepts and definitions, glossaries and thesauri, national methodologies, standard code list
  • Standard for the names of languages: ISO 639