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3. Data Life Cycle

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3.5.3 Documentation

Data documentation helps users understand the context and methods used during the data collection and archiving processes. It explains how scientists have organized, described, coded, formatted, computed and validated data. Metadata are also part of dataset documentation.


Good documentation includes:

  • context, data collection project history, objectives and hypothesis;
  • methods used: for collection, analysis, instrumentation, software, calibration;
  • structure of dataset(s);
  • procedures for data control, verification and validation;
  • changes to data and file version history;
  • data use conditions and confidentiality;
  • metadata.