The White House Office of Management and Budget in Circular A-110 provides the following definition:
"Research data is defined as the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings."
In the course of answering a research question, researchers collect a wide variety of forms and formats of data. Research data can reside in:
These are only a few examples.
Organizing the digital files that store research data, or even introducing a greater level of organization into the files themselves, can help improve the practice of science and make data and the files that contain them more useful in the future. By following research data management best practices for data organization and documentation, researchers can: