Project Details Digital Representation of Units of Measurement (DRUM)

Project No.:
Start Date:
05 May 2022
End Date:


CODATA project >

The objective of this CODATA task group is to work with the International Science Unions to raise awareness of, educate, and enable their communities in the understanding and implementation of digital unit representation. This will be done with reference to each of the three objectives of the CODATA Decadal Programme, namely:

Enabling Technologies and Good Practice for Data-Intensive Science
Mobilising Domains and Breaking Down Silos
Advancing Interoperability Through Cross-Domain Exemplary Case Studies

Each of the above objectives can be addressed by awareness of the different units of measurement representations that are currently available (see the inventory developed in the 2018 – 2021 TG). This, coupled with the movement toward FAIR data, will be used to promote the idea that units of measurement are not second class citizens in science, but rather the most important aspect of what is needed to make data FAIR.


In October 2020, the ‘Units of Measure for Humans and Machines’ document was released ( for dissemination and to raise awareness about the issue and activity and (more specifically) to elicit examples and case studies.

Simultaneously, the project “Digital Representation of Units of Measure” was announced in Chem. Int., vol. 42, no. 4, 2020, pp. 36;


August 2021 update – During the ACS Fall session, Stuart Chalk made a presentation titled “What’s the Future of Digital Chemical Units?“. In this talk he explored what the future might hold for representation of chemical units of measurement. The presentation tried to distill down the ideas from the BIPM SI Digital Framework and how it may impact the description and usage of chemical units moving forward. Pain points and use cases were also incorporated into what might be needed to support units for the chemical enterprise.


May 2022 updateStop squandering data: make units of measurement machine-readable … read the comment published in Nature online 10 May 2022 <>
In the age of big data, it is time to ensure that units are routinely documented for easy, unambiguous exchange of information
The comment also includes a Call to action – see how everyone can help to create interoperable data with machine-readable quantities and units of measurement. (link to News, 14 May 2022)

Page last updated 14 May 2022