Open access materials data in NOMAD

Open access materials data in NOMAD

The NOMAD Repository and Archive (Novel Materials Discovery) distributes data related to materials science, a discipline incorporating physics, chemistry and engineering in order to design and discover new materials. The repository and archive provide the data under a Creative Commons license in raw and processed formats.

– NOMAD is a great example of a field-specific repository, says Mikhail Kuklin, postdoctoral researcher in the School of Electrical Engineering of Aalto University who works in the field of computational materials modeling. – In particular, NOMAD has a specific metadata standard developed particularly for computational sciences. NOMAD has a well-developed interface suitable and understandable for materials scientists.

Photo: Mikhail Kuklin.


NOMAD has an open search interface that does not require users to register or log in. Creating an account enables uploading your own data. Upon uploading, the system automatically extracts metadata from the input and output data, after which the dataset can be published, either immediately or after an embargo period that can be set to up to three years. The process also converts data produced by a variety of software into a uniform format, which makes finding the desired results easier. The data is guaranteed to be stored for at least ten years. Persistent identifiers (DOI, Digital Object Identifier) are assigned for the data so that it can be more easily cited in publications and found even after a long time.

– I work in the field of materials science by using computational approaches, Kuklin says. – Basically, to save time and resources, we use computer facilities to investigate the properties of chemical compounds instead of doing that in a typical laboratory. As for NOMAD, I mainly played by a contributor meaning that I uploaded my data to the repository rather than used someone else’s data from there. However, sometimes I indeed used data from NOMAD to save some time for my research projects. One of the most important questions in materials modeling is to find a reliable methodology for the study. It is quite typical that one has to try different approaches and compare the results with reference (preferably, experimental data if such exist). In this way, one can always check the NOMAD repository if such studies have been made so that it is possible to avoid double work.

– The first strength of NOMAD is the ease of uploading data, says Development Manager Atte Sillanpää from CSC, who participated in the NOMAD project. – During a career in computational materials science a lot of calculations on lots of materials with different methods accumulate. I know from first-hand experience that it is hard to keep track of and reuse old results. The versatile search and filtering tools of NOMAD can help a lot even with your own calculations. Storing them in NOMAD can save countless CPU hours while moving from one computer or research group to another.

NOMAD was developed in international collaboration including CSC and is hosted by the Max Planck Computer & Data Facility (MPCDF). A new development project is beginning that will focus on large-scale computing.


Introduction to the NOMAD Repository and Archive:


Introduction to the NOMAD Analytics Toolkit:



Check out CSC’s new data management site and service catalog.

Are you applying for funding from Academy of Finland? The information package for the academy applicant gathers useful links to our new data management service.


Photos: AdobeStock

More about this topic » Go to insights and news »

Tero Aalto

The author is a language technologist and works with the Language Bank of Finland.