No matter how sound will be your next research idea, sooner or later you will need some data to test your hypothesis.
This is in fact the core aspect of the hypothetico-deductive model, which is one of the mainstays of scientific research firstly introduced by Galileo Galilei, recognized as the “responsible for the birth of modern science” (cfr. Stephen Hawking).
Specifically, the hypothetico-deductive model, often regarded as the only “true” scientific research method, consists of the following – possibly circular – steps:
- Observation: consider the (newly) observed phenomenon and try to make sense of it
- Hypothesis: formulate a conjecture trying to explain the observed phenomenon
- Predictions: deduce predictions from the hypothesis (i.e., assuming the conjecture is true)
- Experiments: look for evidence (i.e., observations) that conflict with these predictions in order to disprove the predictions themselves
Note that this method can never absolutely verify (prove the truth of) the formulated hypothesis. In fact, it can only falsify it! This is exactly what Albert Einstein meant when he said, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” (cfr. “The New Quotable Einstein”).
It turns out that the validity of every research work may not abstract from having suitable datasets to conduct rigorous experimentations. Unfortunately, it may happen that scientists are frustrated by the lack of real-world and universally-recognized benchmarks, which in turn prevent them to design reproducible experiments and ultimately to accomplish their hoped results.
Therefore, I will try to go one very little step further on this, and I will provide you with a selection of those datasets I’ve used for my most important works.
NOTE: All the datasets available from this website are distributed for NON-COMMERCIAL RESEARCH USE ONLY. By downloading the contents of these collections, everyone is committed to fulfil the terms of usage stated above, whereas any application for commercial purposes remains STRICTLY PROHIBITED.