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 traditions to publish metadata in international and/or discipline specific repositories like FigshareThe Cambridge Structural DatabaseZenodoRCSB-PDBStrasbourg Astronomical Data Center

All trusted repositories make data findable and citable in publications.

Vocabularies and ontologies

  • Finto Centralized service for interoperable vocabularies, ontologies and classifications of different fields. 
  • Bartoc Basic registry of thesauri, ontologies and classification
  • ELSST - a multilingual thesaurus
  • LOV Linked Open Vocabularies
  • OLS Ontology Lookup service for biomedical ontologies

Data about data. Metadata and documentation explained

Metadata and documentation are about labeling, describing and annotating data.  It helps to remember the details later, helps others understand your research, enables verifying research findings and reproducing and/or replicating data. Published metadata makes data citable. The concept "metadata" is part of larger concept "documentation".

Discoverable metadata  - always highly structured, machine-readable and open data about data - 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 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: datasheet, collection sheet, or field sheet; data dictionary; codebook; metadata schema, standard, or taxonomy. Read more in Briney, Kristin A. (2022) Research Data Documentation Methods. [Teaching Resource] (Unpublished)

INSPIRE directive

INSPIRE directive. Infrastructure for spatial information in Europe

The INSPIRE Directive aims to create a European Union spatial data infrastructure for the purposes of EU environmental policies and policies or activities which may have an impact on the environment. This European Spatial Data Infrastructure will enable the sharing of environmental spatial information among public sector organisations, facilitate public access to spatial information across Europe and assist in policy-making across boundaries.

INSPIRE data specifications

Paikkatietoikkuna. Inspire in Finland

UOulu data helpdesk

Metadata standards