ARDC Research Vocabularies Australia

Share and combine your data with confidence using Research Vocabularies Australia.
ARDC Research Vocabularies Australia

Research Vocabularies Australia (RVA) is an easily accessible service for creating, managing, finding and accessing controlled vocabularies, which make the meaning of research data clear and explicit.

By helping to make research data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR), vocabularies can increase its impact.

Why Vocabularies Are Important

It’s difficult for a researcher to find or analyse data or to aggregate it with other data if they can’t be sure what the data is and what it means. This is where vocabularies come in. 

Data tagged with vocabularies communicates what the data is and what it is about. This helps a researcher decide whether the data is relevant to their research question. More broadly, vocabularies help make the data FAIR and maximise its impact.  

Communication depends on reaching agreements on meaning. It’s therefore vital for vocabularies to be controlled or, in other words, reflect agreements reached within a project or an organisation, within a domain, or across domains.

How RVA Helps Researchers

RVA helps researchers find and use vocabularies. It also makes it possible for Australian research organisations to publish, re-purpose, create and manage their own controlled vocabularies. Vocabularies change over time, so the service enables management of new versions while retaining superseded versions.

Our goal for the RVA portal is to describe any controlled vocabularies commonly used by or relevant to Australian researchers. Our list is constantly growing.

We work with research organisations to enable software interaction with hosted vocabularies, and to develop the service in response to their needs.

Using the RVA Service

Anyone can search, browse and access the vocabularies described in the RVA portal. You can also self-register to describe or upload a vocabulary.

  • Find and learn about controlled vocabularies relevant to research.
  • Access those vocabularies and reuse them in your community.
  • Integrate vocabularies into your local information systems at a technical level.

  • Upload and describe a vocabulary to share with others.
  • Make a vocabulary machine-readable so it integrates into other systems more easily.
  • Create new or import existing vocabularies and manage them with your community’s input.

Learn how to request the addition of a vocabulary or suggest changes to a vocabulary.

Access to the RVA editor is restricted to ARDC partner organisations (Australian research organisations, including universities, research institutes, collecting organisations and government agencies). Partners can use the RVA editor to create new machine-readable vocabularies.

Wondering which vocabulary you should use? In partnership with the research community, we’re introducing ‘community lenses’ – domain-specific guides created and maintained by the community for choosing the right vocabulary for a particular purpose.

The prototype guide is now live, covering earth and environmental sciences. Try out the guide and learn more about community lenses, including how you can help create a guide for your research community.

Further Resources

Contact the ARDC

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