Science Europe Data Glossary:About

From Science Europe Data Glossary


Science Europe Data Glossary[edit]

Edited by:
Peter Doorn, Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS), Netherlands
Rūta Petrauskaitė, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania

Ana Cristina Amoroso das Neves, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), Portugal
Siri Lader Bruhn, The Research Council of Norway, Norway
Vasco Vaz, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), Portugal

Introduction and scope[edit]

This Data Glossary is a result of the Working Group on Research Data of Science Europe (SE), an association of European Research Funding Organisations (RFO) and Research Performing Organisations (RPO), based in Brussels. The Research Data Working Group brings together experts on research data management from SE Member Organisations. During its initial two-year mandate (2013-2015), the Working Group acted as SE’s platform to reflect upon shared challenges related to research data.

One of the tasks of the Working Group was to develop a glossary of terms as an internal document, a sounding board allowing a consistency check across activities. As our work progressed, it was decided it would be useful to make the list available for reference to policy makers and other professionals from the SE Member Organisations, thus contributing to a shared terminology.

The scope of this glossary to have a practical, limited list of common terms related to research data and their definition, with references to where these definitions are given. We do not aim to make in any sense a full dictionary of terms. We will refer where possible to and make use of authoritative lists. In cases where confusion and alternative uses and definitions exist, we will not attempt to deal extensively with all alternatives, but make informed and pragmatic choices.

We extracted data terms from a couple of relevant texts of Science Europe, the European Research Council (ERC), and the European Science Foundation (ESF). We also browsed a number of already existing lists, dictionaries and glossaries related to data and information technology. These are often the sources of the definitions we used and are referenced to throughout the glossary. Also the general Wikipedia was an important source. Moreover, we relied on or own judgement and professional knowledge, as well as on the needs and expertise of our colleagues in the Working Group. The glossary evolved as the inevitable snowball, as definitions often contained terms that in their turn needed definition and explanation. Finally, we communicated our work with the Data Foundation and Terminology Working Group of the international Research Data Alliance, which is compiling a much more extensive list of data-related terms, currently located at

Agreement on basic definitions undoubtedly contributes to a better understanding of requirements, intentions and policies with respect to research data. Our proposed definitions aim at a common understanding, yet it is clear that this is an on-going and indeed boundless work…