Research data

A fake story in a trustworthy guide to the FAIR principles for research data.

What are research data?


According to the European Commission (EC), research data refer to information, in particular facts or numbers, collected to be examined and considered as a basis for reasoning, discussion or calculation. Data include statistics, results of experiments, measurements, observations resulting from fieldwork, survey outcomes, interview recordings and images.

Types of research data


  • Observational: data captured in real time. For instance, neuroimages, sample data, sensor data, questionnaire data

  • Experimental: data captured on laboratory equipment. For instance, gene sequences, chromatograms, magnetic field data

  • Simulation: data generated based on test models. For example, climatological, mathematical or economic models

  • Derived or compiled: difficult-to-reproduce data. For instance, text and data mining, 3D models or compiled databases

  • Reference: data conglomerate or dataset. For instance, databases of gene sequences, chemical structures or spatial data portals

What is research data management?

Research data management (RDM) encompasses the organization, structure, storage and processing of the data used or generated during a research project.


Research data management is present in all research phases:

Benefits of managing and sharing data

  • Validation of the results obtained.
  • Data localization and comprehension
  • Reduces the duplication of data collection and the costs involved.
  • Complies with the requisites of calls for research.
  • Promotes scientific debate.
  • Promotes innovation and new potential uses of the data.
  • Encourages collaboration between data users and creators.
  • Increases research impact and visibility.
  • Increases your reputation when other people cite your work.

Prior questions


  • What type of data will you generate?
  • Do you expect to deposit and disseminate the data as open access?
  • When do you expect to publish the data?
  • Do you know which platform you will use to deposit and disseminate them?
  • Do you know under which licence you will publish them?
  • Do you want to keep the data? For how long? What volume of data do you want to preserve? Which formats?
  • Does consulting the data require specific software?
  • Are you working with personal data? What will you do with them?
  • Are you working with confidential data? What will you do with them?
  • Who is the person ultimately responsible for data management?

Who owns the data?

According to Article 12 of the Law on Intellectual Property, the databases “that by selection or arrangement of their content constitute intellectual creations” are protected by copyright. However, the raw data included in a database have no authorship and, therefore, are not intellectual property.