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Research Data Australia Collection Description Quality Policy

The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) makes Australia’s research data assets more valuable for researchers, research institutions and the nation. ARDC’s Research Data Australia is a web-based discovery service that helps you find, access, and reuse data for research from over one hundred Australian research organisations, government agencies, and cultural institutions. Research Data Australia does not store the data itself but provide descriptions of, and links to, the data from data publishing partners and contributors.


The strategic intent of Research Data Australia is to provide a wide-ranging and informative picture of the research data collections of the Australian research, innovation, and public sector. The Research Data Australia portal provides the richest possible context to enable researchers to discover, appraise, and understand how to access and re-use Australian research data assets. For these reasons, descriptions of data collections provided to ARDC for inclusion in Research Data Australia should be complete, contain rich contextual connections, and quality content. For contributors, Research Data Australia is also an opportunity to raise the profile and relevance of their organisation by promoting use and re-use of data, driving up citation and references to their data, and forging new collaborative ties.


This policy covers issues of metadata completeness, rich contextual connections, and quality content. This policy is not meant to cover issues of currency, accuracy, or appropriateness. Those issues are addressed in the Research Data Australia Collection Description Integrity Policy


For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions apply:

Completeness: the collection description contains some information on all required metadata elements and on as many optional elements as practical.

Richly connected: the collection description is well-connected to information about research output, research project, research organisations, researchers, and research infrastructure.

Quality: the collection description is well-written, informative, and detailed enough to support discovery and evaluation by people outside the original context.


The ARDC reserves the right not to publish collection descriptions to Research Data Australia that don’t meet a minimum quality threshold consistent with the following principles and the above definitions:

  • ARDC will not publish collection descriptions without a title or a description. However, ARDC recommends much more rich content in order to support discovery and reuse as outlined in the Content Providers Guide: Metadata for Impact. In some cases, ARDC has entered into joint publishing projects with some organisations and in those cases contractual requirements may be different. In all cases these recommendations and requirements are subject to reasonable interpretation by ARDC staff according to the particular context of the contributor.   
  • Collection descriptions published on Research Data Australia should be of a quality concomitant with the purpose outlined above. Descriptions should be understandable to potential users outside the organisation or domain of the original data holdings.  The quality of the content should show the publishing organisation off in a good light. Rich contextual information appropriate to discovery and appraisal includes information on the organisation, group, individuals, project, program, experiment, grant, related publications, reports, re-use conditions, access arrangements, re-use metadata, citation formats, and quality statements.  
  • ARDC staff may work with contributors to support the creation of quality (yet pragmatic) descriptions of their research data assets.  

Change history

DateChange history
05 Dec 2019Page created
05 Dec 2019v1.2 of this Policy added and references to 'ANDS' updated to reference 'ARDC'

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