HEPData: the unique publication-related data repository in particle physics

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Physics


HEPData is the primary repository for publication-related data from particle physics experiments. It responds to a community need to share, manage and preserve data in a form that it can be easily re-used. It is also one of the major elements in fulfilling the STFC and RCUK policies for the management and sharing of scientific data, applied to the particular instance of particle physics. If HEPData did not exist, modern concerns about data management would require the project to be undertaken.

The Durham High-Energy Physics Database (HEPData) has been built up over the past four decades as a unique open-access repository for publication-related high-level data. It contains results from more than 8500 experimental particle physics papers, typically the numbers behind the plots or tables that appear in publications. High energy physics data is either `raw',`derived' or `published', depending on the amount of analysis which has been performed. HEPData is now
part of the INSPIRE collaboration, a global consortium which aims to preserve, manage and share `derived' and `published' data produced by High-Energy Physics experiments, both to ensure that publically funded data is openly available, and to maximise the scientific value obtained from the aggregation of related data.

Planned Impact

Our research has a wide range of potential beneficiaries, including:

- Academics and other researchers: experimental and theoretical particle physics communities in the UK and internationally. More generally, this category extends beyond particle physics and includes computer scientists, astronomers and mathematical physicists. Through our public lectures on campus, it also includes university students within and outside the Faculty of Science. In the long term, HepData envisages to also include various other low-energy particle physics data, such as particle-nucleus collision data that have been instrumental in constructing detectors and detector simulations like Geant4. We anticipate that this kind of data will be useful for other fields of science, such as medical physics.

- Schools: pupils and teachers. We organise annual Masterclass events for local schoolchildren and their teachers; workshops for teachers to strengthen science teaching based on discussions of recent advances in particle physics and astronomy. HEPData is a freely available resource for information and education.

- General public: to bring the wonder and excitement of cutting-edge science using the LHC as a particularly powerful example. It is used to encourage and inspire people to study science and as a result leads to advances in science and technology far beyond particle physics.

- Business, industry, public and private sectors: IPPP staff are fully engaged in the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate students at Durham University. Apart from the usual lectures and tutorials, each year we
supervise individually more than a dozen year-4 undergraduate students doing research projects on particle physics. After leaving the University these students will be able to use their skills acquired in first-hand learning about cutting-edge particle physics research for the wider benefit of society. Postgraduate students trained by us and working on these research projects also provide a significant and valuable contribution to society.


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