Describing research data

Why describe it in DRO?

Describing your data in Deakin Research Online enables it to be more easily found. This provides the opportunity for transparency and supports research integrity. It also supports better management of research data within Schools and Faculties.

Deakin Research Online is harvested by Research Data Australia, Google and other web crawlers. This enables your research to be discovered but only shared with others under conditions that you set. Discovery and sharing provides opportunities for further research to build on your results. In some cases researchers from different disciplines will be interested and may use your work in ways that you may not have anticipated. Sharing data across disciplines, institutions and countries has lead to answers for some of the ‘big questions’ facing humanity.

Description in DRO increases recognition of your work and creates new opportunities for collaboration and exchange.

What types of data may be included?

Research data is data created by researchers in the course of their work and for which the institution has a curatorial responsibility. Deakin University defines research materials (i.e. data collections) in the Authorship and data management procedure as including, but not limited to, physical samples, photographs, written or audio-visual recordings, artwork, questionnaires or other instruments, fieldwork notes, and other items which are the sources of data or themselves constitute data in a research project.

Data in any format may be described. If it requires special software to use, this should be described in the DRO record.

What do I need to do?

  • If you gathered the data complete a Proforma (Word) (PDF). This will enable you to consider and collect all information that will be useful for discovery of your data, and may be useful within your school for future compliance requirements. It requires the signature of chief investigator. The proforma should be scanned and then uploaded to the DRO record describing your data
  • Decide where the data will be stored and under what conditions the data may be accessed.
  • If your data comprises structured files click here to create a DRO record to describe your dataset.
  • If your data comprises unstructured formats or is a group of mixed objects based on a research project or particular object types based on intellectual themes then click here to create a DRO record for your data collection
  • Although much of the information from the proforma may be copied and pasted into fields in the DRO record these Guidelines(Word)(PDF) are provided to assist you.
  • The DRO data team will review your record and are available to provide any further assistance you may need. Email

A project to add a sample of 50 key data collections or data sets in 2011/2012

Deakin University Library has successfully obtained project funding from the Dept. of Innovation, Industry Science and Research as part of the Australian National Data Service "Seeding the Commons" program. For the Deakin University "Seeding the Commons" project, the Library will collect and describe a sample of 50 key data collections in DRO. This will involve exploration of the issues surrounding description and access to research data collections.

Australian National Data Service logoThis project is supported by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS). ANDS is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Program and the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative.

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact