Glossary of Terms

All complex subjects have their own terminology that sometimes makes it hard for new people to break into the field. This sometimes includes uncommon words, but more often than not a subject will have very specific meanings for common words - the discussion of errors vs mistakes in this video is a good example of this.

This glossary is a reference of some of the uncommon terms and specific definitions of more common words that you will encounter throughout Data Tree and your broader dealings with data. 

Many of these definitions come from the course materials and experts that helped develop Data Tree. Others come from the CASRAI Dictionary. Those definitions are kindly made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Browse the glossary using this index

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FAIR Data Principle

Data that follows the FAIR principles must be:

  • Findable
  • Accessible
  • Interoperable
  • Reusable

FAIR is a set of guiding principles for data management and stewardship designed by stakeholders representing interests in academia, industry, funding agencies and scholarly publishers. The FAIR principles define a set of core enabling conditions which, if fulfilled for a given set of data, would ensure that they remain accessible and re-usable over the long term. 

A key element of these principles is the focus on the use of structured information and persistent identifiers to enable machine discoverability and use of the data.

The full set of principles are published in the article "The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship". - DOI

Fair use

A legal concept that allows the reproduction of copyrighted material for certain purposes without obtaining permission and without paying a fee or royalty. Purposes permitting the application of fair use generally include review, news reporting, teaching, or scholarly research. When in doubt, the quickest and simplest thing may to request permission of the copyright owner.

- CASRAI Dictionary


FLOating Point operation, a single calculation on a number with a decimal point i.e. not an integer. In computing, floating point operations per second (FLOPS) is a measure of computer performance, useful in fields of scientific computations that require floating-point calculations.


File Transfer Protocol, a standardised set of rules to allow upload and download of files between two computers, commonly used for exchanging files over the Internet.