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NIST Research Data Framework (RDaF): Version 1.5



Robert Hanisch, Debra L. Kaiser, Alda Yuan, Andrea Medina-Smith, Bonnie C Carroll, Eva Campo


The NIST Research Data Framework (RDaF) is a multifaceted and customizable tool that aims to help shape the future of open data access and research data management (RDM). The RDaF will allow organizations and individual researchers to customize an RDM strategy. Although NIST is leading the RDaF, most of the content in the current v.1.5 was obtained via engagement with national and international leaders in the research data community. NIST held a series of three plenary and 15 stakeholder workshops. Workshop attendees represented all stakeholder sectors, from government and academia to industry and non-profits. The audience for the RDaF is the entire research data community in all disciplines—the biological, chemical, medical, social, and physical sciences. The RDaF is applicable from the organization to the project level, encompassing a wide array of job roles engaged in activities concerned with research data management, from Executives and Chief Data Officers to publishers, funders, and researchers. The RDaF is a map of the research data space that uses a lifecycle approach with six high-level lifecycle stages to organize key information concerning RDM and research data dissemination. Through a community-driven and in-depth process, NIST identified specific, high-priority topics and subtopics for each lifecycle stage. The topics and subtopics are programmatic and operational activities, concepts, and other important factors relevant to RDM. All elements of the RDaF Framework Core—lifecycle stages and their associated topics and subtopics—are defined and explained. Further, the RDaF team identified Overarching Themes which are pervasive throughout the framework core. The core enables organizations and individual researchers to use the RDaF for self-assessment of their RDM status. In addition, each subtopic has several Informative References—resources such as guidelines standards, and policies. As such, the RDaF may be considered a "best practices" document. The RDaF includes sample "Profiles," for various job functions or roles. Each of these profiles contains topics and subtopics that an individual in the given job function or role needs to consider in fulfilling their RDM responsibilities. Individual researchers and organizations involved in the research data lifecycle will be able to tailor these profiles for their specific job function. The methodologies used to generate the content of this publication are described in detail.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 1500-18r1
Report Number


Research data, research data ecosystem, research data framework, research data lifecycle, research data management, research data dissemination, stakeholder community, research stewardship


Hanisch, R. , Kaiser, D. , Yuan, A. , Medina-Smith, A. , Carroll, B. and Campo, E. (2023), NIST Research Data Framework (RDaF): Version 1.5, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed July 23, 2024)


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Created May 18, 2023