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Research Guides

Research Data Management: Publishing and Sharing Research Data

Guide of resources related to the many aspects of research data management. Data management encompasses the processes surrounding collecting, organizing, describing, sharing, and preserving data.

Publishing & Sharing Research Data

Publishing and sharing research data is a great way of incorporating open access and FAIR (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability) principles into your research journey. By sharing your research, other researchers can validate and build upon your research, creating a collaborative culture. Making work openly accessible supports research as a whole, and the amount of open access articles continues to rise year by year.

In addition, many funding agencies and institutions, such as the NIH, have also encouraged or updated their policies to require some level of open data sharing. SPARC has a tool to browse data and article sharing policies by funding agencies, so researchers can gain a better understanding of specific data sharing requirements they may have to navigate.

Managing and Storing Data

A good first step to publishing and sharing your research data is establishing a data management plan (DMP), which is a document required or recommended as part of the grant application process by a wide number of funders, including the NIH and NSF. A DMP helps researchers establish how data will be handled throughout the data lifecycle, including what kinds of data are collected, accompanying metadata, where it will be stored, and how access to the data will be managed.

There are several options for sharing or publishing your data. Generally speaking, repositories and publisher websites are the most widely accepted way of making research data available.

A repository is a data storage space which “provides long-term storage and access to research data that is the basis for a scholarly publication” (re3data.org). Storing data in a repository ensures that the research data is organized and accessible beyond the life of a grant or research project, and provides a back-up option to protect your data. See below for different repository options.

Why Should You Share Your Data?

There are a variety of reasons researchers should considering sharing their data at the end of a project. Sharing can:

  • Accelerate research and provide greater exposure to data
  • Increase possibility of future research collaborations
  • Potentially increase citation of source papers (Piwowar, 2007)
  • Increase return on research investment by allowing continued re-use of data (funding agencies value this)
  • Many funding agencies (see SPARC list) and journals (e.g. NatureScience) are now implementing data sharing requirements
  • Encourage scientific enquiry and debate

Questions to consider before sharing your data:

  • How much and which aspects of your data will you share?  (Raw data? Analyzed?  Both?)
  • Are there privacy or security issues with your data and how will they be resolved? (Anonymization? Informed consent? Controlled access?)
  • When will you make the data available? (As soon as it's collected? Upon project completion? After publication?)
  • With whom will you share your data? (Your department? Your institution? Others in your field? Everyone?)

How can you share your data?

  • Deposit in a subject-specific or institutional repository (see Selecting a Data Repository for options)
  • Submit as supplementary information with an article to be published in a journal
  • Make available on a website
  • Make available on departmental servers
  • Informal peer-to-peer sharing via email or removable media
  • Use an ORCiD ID to create a profile of all your publications including datasets.
  • Create a persistent identifier for a long-lasting reference

Why should you preserve your data?

Questions?

If you have questions about data sharing, storage, or preservation please contact the Scholarly Communications and Publishing Team or use the "Ask Us" link at the top of the page.