Making research data FAIR is not only a benefit to the research community. It can also add to the scientific merit of researchers when their data are being reused and cited. Besides that, proper data documentation is essential for exchanging research data with colleagues or in the community, and even for understanding ones own research data after motnhs or years.

Metadata are a way to describe data in a structured and standardized way. Because they can be used to configure the access point to the data, they are also the key for data findability, access and reuse. Ideally, standardized metadata terminology is used to describe research data. Generic research data standards such as Dublin Core can be applied to various or nearly all types of data, but they have less expressive power than a discipline-specific standard. Up-to-date lists of discipline-specific metadata standards can be found on the following sites:

If you need more information on the what, why and how of metadata, you might find the ANDS metadata guide helpful.