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Research Data Management

Learn about best practices in research data management

What are data standards and why use them?

Per the Data Thesaurus, "Data standards are policies or best practices that determine how types of data should be formatted and what metadata and documentation needs to be included. Putting data standards into practice enables data reuse and interoperability."

Standards provide guidance on:

  • What essential protocol information to document
  • Critical elements to document (e.g., sample annotations)
  • Experimental design documentation to use

Standards also: 

  • Allow for the reuse of past data (yours and others)
  • Provide a tested, existing methods for experimental protocols, and collecting/documenting data
  • Allow you to easily and accurately compare and combine data across studies
  • Can increase the potential for collaboration and data sharing

Where to find data standards logo
 provides a searchable catalog of standards, information on databases, and data policies.