University of Reading Research Data Archive

Glossary of Terms

The terms listed are used as defined below in the Archive policies and other documentation associated with the Archive.


Administrator: a member of the University staff who is authorised to register, deposit, modify, validate, publish and delete data and perform any other activities necessary to the management and maintenance of the Archive in accordance with Archive policies.

Authorising Agent: an Archive Administrator or nominated individual with a valid email address who holds the rights in a Dataset and/or is authorised act on behalf of the rights-holder(s), and who undertakes to grant or refuse requests for access to Restricted data files. Archive Administrators are Authorising Agents by default; additional or alternative agents may be nominated. 

Data Contact: an Archive Administrator or nominated individual with a valid email address who may act as Authorising Agent for requests to access Restricted data files, or who may otherwise handle requests and enquiries from users related to a given Dataset.

Data file: for the purposes of the Archive, any file containing data or related documentation.

Data repository: an institutionally-managed service that preserves, publishes and enables long-term access to research data on behalf of researchers. To be suitable, a repository service must be relevant, trusted, and accessible: relevant to the research domain or the data type concerned; trusted by virtue of its domain expertise and standards of data curation; and accessible to the depositor, who can deposit data at no cost, or has funds to cover the cost of deposit.

DataCite: the organisation that manages the registration of DOIs using the DOI system and guarantees their persistent resolution.

Dataset: a set of files or a database constituting a discrete and clearly defined set of data and/or the means of generating data related to a research activity or project, or supporting one or more research publications. It may include both data and the means to generate, interpret or validate data, such as computer models and software code. A Dataset will include data files (including, where relevant, program files) and documentation, such as administrative materials, codebooks, user manuals, workflows, protocols, methodologies, etc.

A Dataset may be stored in the Archive, or held elsewhere, in other online data archives or repositories, or may be published by other means, for example as supplementary materials alongside a journal article. Non-digital datasets may be stored in institutional archives or other storage services.

Depositor: any Reading User who deposits files into the Archive and/or creates a Metadata Record for a Dataset or Collection in accordance with the terms of the Archive Deposit Agreement. A Depositor may register a Dataset without depositing files, for example where the Dataset is held outside of the Archive.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): a character string used to uniquely and persistently identify and resolve to a digital landing page for an object (which may itself be physical or digital). A DOI will be assigned to every Metadata Record for a digital Dataset held in the Archive or a non-digital Dataset stored and managed in the University.

Documentation: any digital files such as a README.txt file, codebook, technical specification or methodology, which explain the research data’s production, provenance, processing or interpretation.

Licence: a legal statement of the rights that exist in an item of intellectual property and the permissions granted by the rights-holder(s) to any users of the item.

Mandatory minimum metadata: the minimum set of metadata for a Dataset that must be supplied to DataCite in order for a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to be assigned to the Dataset Metadata Record. The metadata are: Title; Creator(s); Data Publisher; Publication Year; DOI.

Metadata Record: a structured description of a Dataset, including information about licensing and conditions of access to the data. Metadata Records can refer to Datasets held in the Archive or elsewhere. A Metadata Record will exist for each Dataset and Collection.

Open: access setting for files that are openly accessible to all users without restriction.

Public User: anyone who may read and use all publicly-accessible content in the Archive.

Published research findings: both primary, peer-reviewed research publications, such as articles and conference papers, and other publicly-available outputs, such as theses and dissertations that have been electronically distributed.

Reading User: a member of the University staff or student body who is entitled to register and deposit data by accessing the Archive with a University account, and to act as a Data Contact. Reading Users may be: current and retired University staff; University visitors or collaborators associated with a University research project; University-registered postgraduate students.

Research data: material collected or created in digital or non-digital form for the purposes of analysis to generate original research findings.

Registered User: a member of staff or research student who is registered with and able to log in to the Archive using their University account.

Registered users: access setting for files that are openly accessible to all Archive Registered Users.

Restricted: access setting for files that are accessible only to members of staff and research students with a University account.

University of Reading Research Data Archive (the Archive): a multidisciplinary online service for the registration, preservation and publication of research Datasets produced or collected at the University of Reading.

University of Reading: the legal entity on behalf of which the Archive service is provided and with which Users enter into agreement through use of the Archive.

Validation of published research findings: confirmation of reported research findings or results by consultation of the underlying evidence. Norms and expectations in respect of validation will vary by discipline and the nature of the research, and may be more or less explicitly expressed and established within the domain. Validation may be enabled provision of data and relevant interpretive information, or in some experimental and simulation-based research by description of the experimental method or algorithm and provision of the means to replicate results in the published findings and associated supplementary information. Where research involves the creation of software and data generated have little or no value in themselves, it may be more suitable to provide the software code and/or system specifications instead.