Colloquially, data is. But to the data scientists who live and die by p-values and correlation coefficients, data are. That is, "data" is technically the plural form of the singular noun "datum,", but "data" has come to be synonymous with a collection of data points—i.e., data shows, data says, data tells us. And when was the last time you heard anyone say "datum?"
A recent Wall Street Journal style guide blog post made public their their official position on the matter:
As usage has evolved from the word’s origin as the Latin plural of datum, singular verbs now are often used to refer to collections of information: Little data is available to support the conclusions.
Otherwise, generally continue to use the plural: Data are still being collected.
Simon Rogers picked up the WSJ announcement on The Guardian's Datablog with a quick look at the term's history and some heated tweets on the subject. Rogers concludes:
For what it's worth, I can confidently say that this will probably be the only time I ever write the word "datum" in a Datablog post. Data as a plural term may be the proper usage but language evolves and we want to write in terms that everyone understands—and that don't seem ridiculous.
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