Data sets are used and produced in research across most disciplines.  The most common data are reference data, research data, and statistics.  

Reference Data

Reference data in the sciences include basic constants, properties and standard values which have been evaluated and verified by measurement.  These have been standardized to provide the scientific community with a reliable source of data.  Included are chemical and physical property information (e.g. crystallographic, structure and nomenclature, spectra, mass) and scientific information on species (e.g. plants, birds, spiders).  

Reference data supporting business studies includes company and market information and industry benchmarking. Check our databases for data sets.

Research Data Repositories

Research data are often stored in discipline-specific repositories. DataCite  and Data Citation Index allow searching across disciplines. 

Examples of discipline specific data repositories are:

  • DataONE - a NSF-funded collaboration which provides a single portal for many Earth Observable data repositories.
  • ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research) - an international consortium which provides a data archive of social science research.  It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and more.
  • NADAC (National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture) - a repository hosted by ICPSR in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts containing data supporting research on arts and culture.
  • Data.gov - the US Government's open data portal, which includes federal, state and local data plus tools and resources.

Statistics

Statistics are aggregated and analyzed data.  Statistics of research data are generally reported in articles or books.  Public and government data are converted into statistics by government and other statistical agencies.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics links to several U.S. Federal, international, and other countries' statistical agencies.