Data and software in research

Research data is an inherent component of academic work and therefore essential for teaching and research. It is as diverse as research itself, which makes it hard to define.

All data that are produced within an academic research project is considered research data.
Research data are as diverse as research itself. Thus, they can take various forms, depending on the research field and the methodology.
To name few examples:
  • (digitally collected) experimental data in natural sciences and technology
  • survey data in social sciences
  • (digital) images of historical artefacts in history of art and archaeology
  • (digitized) manuscripts in linguistics and literature
  • audio recordings
  • geo-reference data

Within a research project, one can re-use existing data (for a list of data archives and repositories see, or generate new data. Accordingly, research data can be both the basis and the result of the research process.
Research data can be collected, stored, curated etc. in analogue and digital form. However, it is significantly easier to share digital rather than physical data.

Despite various advantages, sharing research data comes with technical, legal and ethical challenges. Furthermore, the use of digital data is more widely established in some research disciplines than in others. Therefore, different subjects have different prerequisites in terms of the available infrastructure for archiving, sharing and publication of data.
If you have any questions about personal data, please contact the FAU data protection, phone: +49 9131 8525860

Addition information