What is research data and how important is it? What work has been carried out by the Foundation for Science and Technology, through the FCCN unit, in this area? Find out the answers to these and other questions in this article.

"Ensuring access to data is one of the pillars of sound and reproducible scientific research." The phrase is part of a practical guide published by Science Europe, the association of organizations that fund scientific research in Europe. The phrase also embodies the spirit of one of the most important areas of scientific activity over the last two decades - research data management.

What is research data?

Simply put, they are the information that results from scientific activity and which, in turn, is necessary for the construction of new knowledge. "The reality of research involves something very real and practical: data," explains the General Secretariat for Education and Science, in the framework of the course centered on this topic and published on the NAU platform.

It is thanks to data that scientists and researchers can "identify patterns, trends and uncover facts and realities that are often hidden," adds the same source. For this reason, "the better the data is managed, the simpler, more effective and faster the research process and the achievement of results can be," he concludes.  

The role of FCCN

In Portugal, the unit FCCN has competencies in defining Open Science policies, participating in national and international working groups that focus, among other topics, on research data management.

One such example is the organization of a national forum dedicated to this topic. In 2023, the tenth edition of the event was held at the Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal, on November 14 and 15, bringing together the community of professionals and researchers involved in research data management support activities, with the aim of developing skills, sharing good practices and promoting knowledge on this subject.

Among other milestones, FCCN 's activity includes the creation of Polen in February 2022. This project was presented with the aim of "promoting Open Science and responding to the needs of the national scientific community with regard to research data management", says Filipa Pereira, the project's manager .

Polen currently incorporates several services aimed at fulfilling these objectives, such as a data management plan system, a research data repository service and a community support service. 

For all these reasons, "it aims to promote a more open, inclusive and transparent science", explains the research data manager of the FCCN unit, Filipa Pereira, in an interview marking the project's first year of existence.

You can find out more about this project here. Find out more about FCCN 's work in this area at: https://www.fccn.pt/ciencia-aberta/

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