Research data vary widely between academic disciplines. There is a variety of data types and formats available. Thorough format selection ensures the reusability of research data even years later.
You should consider the following when selecting the data format:
- The format should be sustainable. Sustainability is enhanced by increasing the range of supporting software.
- The software documentation and format description should be available. This ensures that software can be developed to read the data even decades later.
- The format should be usable without legal restrictions such as licences or patents.
- The format should be readable without technical constraints such as encryption or digital rights.
- The format should only contain relevant information and avoid unnecessary formatting information such as type size in tables.
- Applied multimedia formats should compress lossless. Lossy formats should only be used if memory consumption makes this unavoidable
- The format should be well-established in your community.