Because good research needs good data

Mission and vision

Our mission

To help organisations worldwide make the best use of data in and for research

Our vision

To maintain and enhance our global reputation in a sustainable and rewarding way

DCC Principles

The Digital Curation Centre has a commitment to:

  • Open working whenever possible​

  • Collaboration and cooperation is positive

  • Be international in what we do and how we do it​

  • Value diversity and inclusion – act in accordance with those values​

  • Be a healthy and mutually supportive place to work​

Why curate

Data are evidence supporting research and scholarship; better research is based on verifiable data, which may in turn lead to new knowledge. Observational, environmental and other data are unique and cannot be recaptured or reproduced.

Data may represent records and have associated legal requirements; curation will allow us to protect the data for the future, and manage risks.

Where data is created in the course of research that is publicly funded, a duty to manage is implied, including the provision of access to data and data reuse. Meeting this obligation will be enabled by good data stewardship. 

What data

Curation requires effort and resources. In principle, any digital object or database may be perceived as likely to be of sufficient value for the effort and expense of curation. Data may be curated in the short-term, but may not require long-term preservation.

There are cost barriers to both curation and preservation, so an effective appraisal and selection process is essential. It is important to build an appropriate robust, distributed infrastructure to support curation. 

Components may include laboratory repositories, institutional repositories, subject or discipline repositories, databases and data centres. Co-ordinated strategies and policies at research funder level are required, together with sufficient investment for the future.


Curation applies throughout the research lifecycle, from before or at the point of data creation, through primary use to eventual disposal. The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model describes the processes involved in curation. The curation lifecycle may continue indefinitely and curation cannot be left to the end of primary use, for example at the end of a funded project. 

Who should have responsibility

A number of roles and responsibilities are involved in curation and preservation practice within the Curation Lifecycle. Curation should start with the individual or group that creates or captures the information.

Curation requires a significant amount of domain knowledge; data scientists and data curators may add value to the original data. Users, custodians and reusers of the data and the funding bodies have curation responsibilities. There is currently a shortage of experienced data scientists and curators with digital preservation experience.

How will curation be achieved

The key is to follow good practice, including domain, national and international standards in the capture, management and archiving of data.

Processes and tools to assure easy discovery, control access and to facilitate data sharing and reuse are required. An infrastructure of data centres and trusted repositories, together with methodologies to demonstrate provenance and assure authenticity, are essential.

Curation practice in detail will depend on the domain or discipline. Data structure, scale and ownership must also be taken into account, as well as the diversity of cultures and research methodologies.

Curation can build on and fit in with current practices, for example, researchers' informal sharing of ongoing research with colleagues; or their training, or the need to comply with formal regulatory and ethical procedures