Research data in general

Multiple definitions

Many definitions attempt to capture the notion of Research data. This challenge is all the more difficult because it is necessary to find a common denominator for many types of data (sociological, economic, medical, biological, constructed from sounds, images or even odours, etc.).

It is commonly accepted (OECD - 2007) that research data are factual records used as primary sources for scientific research. They are generally recognized by the scientific community as necessary to validate research results. They can take many forms (experimental data, observational data, operational data, third party data, public sector data, etc.).

Research data at UNIL

At UNIL, according to Directive 4.5, research data are records used as primary sources for scientific research.

They include in particular, but not exclusively :

  • primary data: original data (measurement, text, image, sound, video, questionnaires, etc.) collected or generated for the purpose of carrying out a research project ;
  • existing data collected or copied for immediate or future use in Projects (in particular administrative or statistical data, digitised content from collections, data available in databases expressly made available to a research community) - original data or content is not covered by this Directive ;
  • any new data resulting from the processing (analysis, aggregation, transformation, etc.) of the primary data.

The following are not considered as research data :

  • files containing constituent elements of the publication of the research (texts forming the core of the publication, as well as annexes - tables, graphs, images, etc.) ;
  • files generated by the project administration (scientific, financial reports) or media communication related to a project.

In order to facilitate their publication and/or sharing in possible open access, research data are organized and managed according to international standards specific to each field in order to respect the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Re-usable) supported in particular by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

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