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RDM Terminology WG

  • Human-readable overview of the current terms and their definitions is now online here:, to provide access whilst we complete the technical work on the machine-actionable version.
  • Interested in joining the next annual review cycle?  Applications for membership of the Research Data Management Terminology (RDMT) Working Group will reopen in 2024.  Please contact the convenor at laura AT with any questions.

The CASRAI Research Data Management terminology was intended as a practical reference for individuals and groups concerned with the improvement of research data management (RDM).  In 2020, CASRAI requested that CODATA assume responsibility for the curation of this valued resource.  Find out more about the new locations of ex-CASRAI assets here.

To that end, the RDM Terminology Working Group uses a lightweight and pragmatic annual process to review the current terminology and suggest any edits, additions and removals that are required in order to develop and improve this important reference resource.

The RDM Terminology WG: our aim

The aim of the WG is to create a stable and sustainably-governed standard terminology of community-accepted terms and definitions for concepts relevant to research data management, and to keep this terminology relevant by maintaining it as a ‘living document’ that is updated regularly.

Definitions should be clear and unambiguous, and where possible, fit with common usage.  Definitions should be apposite across research data management activities of key stakeholders, including but not limited to those working in research, data management, digital curation and preservation, research management, research policy, open data advocacy, computer science, information management, research administration, library, scholarly publishing, digital archiving and research funding roles.  Some terms may have more than one definition, in which case the relevant context should be specified. The terminology is not an attempt to list every concept, tool and standard relevant to RDM; rather, it focuses on terms without easily found authoritative definitions elsewhere, and offers their definition in the context of contemporary RDM.

WG members will choose the terms they wish to review and will have a set amount of time to do so.  Not all terms need to be reviewed every year.  Members will report – for each term that they review – whether they wish to 

  • accept the term and its definition in its current form; 
  • edit it (and specify the proposed edits); 
  • or remove it.  

Further, any additions of terms that are felt to be currently missing can also be proposed.  Once all our changes are agreed across the WG, we’ll open the new and revised terms for a set period to the public for review, then close that version of the terminology for the year.  The detailed schedule for the annual work cycle is available here

Some practical points to note

WG members will be recruited afresh each calendar year.  Participation is for one year at a time only, to encourage a healthy diversity of viewpoints.  Ongoing membership of the WG for further years will require a fresh application each year.  Applicants will be selected to support diversity of gender, professional role/sector, and geographic region.  The WG will be conducted in English. Participants should be comfortable working independently and in a collaborative, working group environment and have a good knowledge of research data management as a practical and / or theoretical field, but you do not need to be a senior manager or researcher to participate: we welcome varied levels of experience.  All WG members agree to read and abide by the terms of the CODATA Code of Conduct in calls, videoconferences and in-person meetings. Applications from under-represented groups are particularly welcome. We will work as much as possible asynchronously in order to minimise awkward meeting times for international participants, and calls will be timed as considerately as possible for the majority of participants.

Who was involved in the most recent review cycle?

The 2021-22 review cycle ran from autumn 2021 to summer 2022, and had the following membership:

Sharon McMeekin (Digital Preservation Coalition); Joanne Fitzpatrick (Lancaster University); Maria Praetzellis (California Digital Library); Ryan O’Connor (Digital Curation Centre); Mary Donaldson (University of Glasgow); Evy Neyens (Hasselt University); Tatiana Zaraiskaya (University of New Brunswick); Catherine Jones (Science and Technology Facilities Council UK); Jennifer Harris (Open Data Services Cooperative); Anup Kumar Das (Jawaharlal Nehru University); Helen Cooper (University of Kent); Antony Cooper (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research South Africa); Sridhar Gutam (ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research); Asha Law (CODATA); Rebecca Oldroyd (University College London); Nici Pfeiffer (Centre for Open Science); Laura Molloy (CODATA, convenor).

Any questions?

For more information on the terminology and our plans to take it forward, check out this short presentation video. There is also a news item on the CODATA news page here.

For any specific questions, please contact the WG convenor at laura AT  Thank you!


Page last checked: 2024-02-07.