Select, preserve and share your data
Publishing the data behind your research findings:
- shows the work's integrity
- verifies the work
- can create opportunities for further research to be carried out on your findings.
Funding and journal requirements
Your funder may need you to archive your data in a digital repository for some time after your project has completed. Timescales range from 3 to 10+ years.
Most funding bodies have data policies that promote data sharing. The terms and extent to which data should be made available vary between funders.
- Overview of funders' data policies
- Sherpa/Juliet lists research funders’ data archiving policies, with information on what to archive, when, and where.
Some journals also need any data that underpins a publication to be made openly available on submission or acceptance of the manuscript.
Appraise and select your data
You may not need or be able to archive all of the resulting data from your research project. For help deciding, read:
- Five steps to decide what data to keep
- Whyte, A. & Wilson, A. (2010), "How to Appraise & Select Research Data for Curation", DCC How-to Guides, Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre
Choose a repository
Digital repositories, data archives, and data centres can provide secure, long-term storage for your research data. They may be subject-based or maintained by an institution.
Typically a researcher submits the data to the repository, describing its contents. Then the repository takes responsibility for preserving the data, managing access to it and making the information about the data discoverable.
There are repositories for many different subject areas. Try these lists to help you find a suitable repository for your data:
Some funders and publishers have their own data centres, or they may recommend repositories for archiving the data created by projects they support:
- UK Data Service (economic and social)
- NERC - data centres (environmental)
- Wellcome Trust - Policy on data, software and materials management and sharing (biosciences and medical)
- BBSRC - list of data sharing resources (biosciences)
- Dryad (scientific and medical)
- nature.com - list of recommended data repositories (scientific)
How to share
There are a number of ways you can make your data openly accessible:
- include it within your final published papers
- deposit it in a repository (subject or institutional) or data centre:
- disseminate it via a project or institutional website:
- this method can offer immediate storage and dissemination of your data, but it's less sustainable and secure if the website does not have adequate administrative processes in place
- if your funder needs your data to be preserved in the long term (10+ years), consider depositing in a repository or data centre instead of (or in addition to) the webpage
- informally with your peers:
- this method may make managing access to your data a burden and does not ensure availability of the data in the long term
The route you take may vary according to your research discipline. You should check your funder’s requirements, as they may have specific locations where they want you to store data.