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.
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.
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.
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.
Check the terms and conditions of your funding award for further information.
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.
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?
Your funder may also support or recommend a particular repository:
Some publishers have also published lists of recommended data repositories:
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).
More such repositories may be found using the "restricted access" filter at Re3Data.