The term ‘data’ refers to any evidence that underpins your research question and validates your findings.
Data can take the form of various media, including spreadsheets, audio-visual recordings, lab notebooks, sketchbooks, digital images, interview transcripts, objects, manuscripts or survey results.
Metadata is all of the information needed for another researcher to be able to understand your data. Good metadata should include descriptions of how and when the data was collected, a key to abbreviations or codes used within the dataset, and details regarding provenance and versioning.
Some disciplines have set guidelines for metadata standards.
An Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCiD) is a persistent digital identifier, unique to you. It is your researcher bar-code, and ensures that all of your research outputs, grant submissions, and professional activities can be linked back to you. Having an ORCiD means that if you change your name, publish under variations of your name (e.g. John Smith, John F. Smith, J. F. Smith), move institutions, or share the same name as another researcher, your work remains easily recognisable to others as your own.
If you do not already have an ORCiD, you can register for one online. Registration is free and takes approximately 30 seconds.