Data are often defined in different ways in different disciplines, and by your institutional policies.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) define data (final research data) as "Recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to document and support research findings."
The National Science Foundation (NSF) states that "data will be determined by the community of interest through the process of peer review and program management. This may include, but is not limited to: data, publications, samples, physical collections, software and models."
The UVa Laboratory Notebook and Recordkeeping policy (RES-002) defines data as "the results of research procedures."
Quite simply, it helps researchers to do better research. It encourages you to do more efficient research, by optimizing the use of your data. Using research data management best practices is beneficial in many ways:
Data Sharing and Management Snafu, or what shouldn't happen when a researcher makes a data sharing request!
Used courtesy of the NYU Health Sciences Library