In this section you will find guidance on how to describe your data, often referred to as metadata, so that it can be more easily located in the future and improve the opportunity for reuse in further research work. Find out more about:
How will my research data be used? This will depend on the type of data and any requirements, or restrictions, placed on you by funders, ethical or commercial considerations. UK funding councils and others are increasingly requiring details of how and where data will be shared, while acknowledging some limitations need to be imposed for reasons of commercial interest or confidentiality.
Three kinds of data reuse
1. Author consultation and reuse: the data must be meaningfully named and located so that the originator of the data can find and use it on any future occasion. Use Document properties tools to describe MSOffice files
2. Non-author consultation: for other researchers to access your work, the metadata must be consistent and discoverable, and assigned according to international standards where these exist, for example, Dublin Core or Data Documentation Initiative.Allowing others to see your work gives credit to you, your research team, and your institution.
3. Non-author reuse:the most open form of reuse, enabling other researchers to replicate/develop/enhance your data in their own research. Increasingly required by funders, and means that the data must be completely and consistently described. For example, the OECD requires publicly funded data to be openly available to the scientific community.
See the Research Councils UK Common Principles on Data Policy.
For further guidance see our section on Funder Expectations.
Metadata are a subset of core data documentation, which provides standardised structure information that explains:
of a data collection (UK Data Archive).
Why do you need metadata?
Creating metadata is good research practice and enables you to keep track your own work. Depositing your metadata with your data will also enable others to discover and understand your data.
For further resources see our section on Metadata Standards and Training