Document Your Data
Document your data using:
- Lab notebooks (which should include information like equipment settings and calibration, database schema, methodology reports, and provenance)
- Experimental protocols
- Data dictionaries
Lab notebooks can:
- Prove intellectual property rights
- Defend against claims of fraud
- Demonstrate adherence with standards of good practice and ethical integrity
- Show compliance with contracts
There are three levels of data documentation:
- Project level: Indicates what the study set out to do, what the research questions and hypotheses were, and what methodologies, sampling frames, instruments and measures were used.
Found in: theses, published articles, data papers and technical reports
- File or database level: Documents how all the files that make up the data set relate to one another.
Found in: one file, typically named readme.txt
- Item or variable level: Uses a full label to explain the meaning of your variables.
Found in: your spreadsheets