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Research Data Management: Finishing a research project

Why should I share my research data?

Funders now require that researchers share the data underpinning their published research findings, and that they retain this for a reasonable period of time to allow further use. The UK Concordat for Open Research Data recommends that data underpinning published research findings are shared by the publication date. In support of this, the University’s Research Data Management Policy now requires that all researchers include a ‘data access statement’ in their publications explaining how relevant datasets can be accessed at the point of publication.

Depositing your data with an online repository ensures that other researchers, and the wider public, can validate your published research findings by making it discoverable for a significant period of time (normally 10 years). Using an established repository also ensures that your datasets are citeable, normally by assigning a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and that you receive appropriate credit for your work.

Preserving your data

It is essential to preserve your data to ensure that it can be accessed, consulted and re-used now and into the future.

It is now easier than ever to preserve your data.

Save your file(s) into good preservation formats and upload into the Institutional Repository.

Sharing your research data

When you have completed your research, you may be in a position to share your data. The timing of your sharing (when) and where you share your data (location) will be dependent on a number of factors.

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If your data is related to a forthcoming publication, the publisher (e.g. journal publisher) may require that the data is placed in a secure repository with a DOI assigned to it before they will publish the related article. In such a case, it is paramount that you have shared the data in a relevant repository and have a DOI for the dataset at the time of submission or publication of your article. If the data relates to a paper that you plan to publish, it is advised you have shared this data by journal submission stage. 


UK research councils are increasingly mandating the sharing of research data sharing so as to avoid duplication of effort and save costs. Check with your individual funder regarding data sharing requirements. Some funders stipulate also when the data must be shared.

  • For example, EPSRC require that data (for which there is no intention to publish) should be made accessible online no later than 1 year after the date of generation (if this date is clear) or 1 year after the end of the EPSRC grant (if the date of generation is not clear).
  • ESRC mandate that data must be shared within three months of the end of the award.
  • And STFC insist that research data supporting publications should be made available within 6 months of the publication date.

Check the terms and conditions of your funding award for further information.

Archive and preserve your data

  • Most research funders normally require that research data is preserved and remains accessible and usable for future users as long as it remains of value
  • Funders apply a range of different minimum time periods to this requirement (normally a minimum of 10 years)
  • In the absence of any specific legal or funder requirements, relevant research data and records should be retained for as long as they are of value
  • The Digital Curation Centre provide a 'five step guide' on deciding what data to retain or discard
  • Queen's Institutional Repository can archive and preserve your data
  • If you have any questions about how to archive your data please contact the Research Data Management Team
  • Email:

Where to share research data?

Research data can be shared in an online platform called a repository. Sometimes it may be referred to as being archived or deposited. An online repository is a secure, digital holding place, usually for research data. Some repositories can be for designated disciplines or subjects. 

Discipline-specific repositories

There are many advantages to depositing data in a discipline-specific repository. This will be a recognised place where researchers know to locate for data in this field. They have subject specialist expertise and the resources to manage specific types of data. Also, these types of repositories have existing metadata standards that will be familiar to researchers in the discipline. This ensures standardisation with regards to how the information which supports the research dataset is conveyed.

How can I find the right discipline-specific repository for my data?

  • Re3data is a global registry of data repositories. Repositories are listed according to subject, data type and country. If you are not aware of a repository for your research area or subject, do consult this resource.
  • Please be aware that some funders specify or provide guidance around which repository to use. We provide a summary of funders' data policies.

Funders Repositories:

Your funder may also support or recommend a particular repository:

Some publishers have also published lists of recommended data repositories:

Below is a worksheet produced by CONUL on where to submit your data. This is a useful point of reference to consult when weighing up where you should share your data.

UKAN anonymisation decision-making framework

The need for well-thought-out anonymisation has never been more acute. The drive to share data has led to some ill-conceived, poorly-anonymised data publications including the Netflix, AOL, and New York taxi cases, underlining how important it is to carry out anonymisation properly and what can happen if you do not.

UKAN publishes the Anonymisation Decision Making Framework (ADF) to address a need for a practical guide to GDPR-compliant anonymisation that gives more operational advice than other publications such as the UK Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) valuable Anonymisation Code of Practice. At the same time, we are concerned to be less technical and forbidding than the existing statistics and computer science literature.

The Guide is primarily intended for those who have microdata that they need to anonymise with confidence, typically in order to share it for some purpose in some form compliant with GDPR and the UK Data Protection Act (2018).

Data Situation Evaluation Tool 

Sharing your sensitive research data

Sometimes it may not be possible to share your research data. This may be owing to reasons of copyright, commercialisation of your data, data agreements or owing to the presence of personal data. Data may be sensitive or confidential. This would mean that appropriate safeguards would be required in order to share data such as this. One way in which repositories offer access to data like this is through specific access controls. For example, restricted access can be offered (for sensitive data) or controlled access can be established (for very sensitive data). 

restricted access Templates | instantprint

Please find below a list of repositories that provide restricted access options

More such repositories may be found using the "restricted access" filter at Re3Data.