Make your data count

How to share

Open Access and data sharing
Scholarly publishing has seen a strong move towards open access to increase the impact of research, with open access journals and copyright policies enabling the deposit of outputs in open access repositories. The same movement also steers towards more open access of the underlying data and evidence on which research publications are based. A growing number of journals require data that underpin research findings to be published in open access repositories when manuscripts are submitted.

There are different ways to share data and the route you take may be dependent on what is standard practice in your discipline, or what your funder expects.

See also the Archives and Other Options page.

    • Archives or repositories are organisations whose purpose is to preserve material for future use. A large number of data archives exist: these include both national (and international) services focused on data from one specific discipline or area, and institutional repositories maintained by a single university.
    • A growing number of funders (including RCUK) expect data with acknowledged long-term value to be preserved and remain accessible and usable for future research.
      • Some funders (e.g. NERC and ESRC) have set up specialised archives (sometimes known as data centres) to curate, disseminate and preserve data created as part of their funded programmes. In these cases, researchers are expected to deposit their data in the designated place.
      • The SHERPA/JULIET service lists funders’ requirements regarding open access.
      • ORA-Data is the University of Oxford’s institutional repository.
      • provides an extensive catalogue of archives.
    • A big advantage of depositing your data in an archive or data centre is that it will be preserved in the long term.
    • A condition of publication in some journals is that authors are required to make data promptly available to others without undue restrictions.
    • Datasets must often be made freely available to readers from the date of publication, and must be provided to editors and peer-reviewers at submission, for the purposes of evaluating the manuscript.
    • Some publishers are already creating persistent links from articles to relevant datasets.

    Check your journal’s data policy to find out what the requirements are regarding data.

    • Project websites can offer easy immediate storage and dissemination, but will offer less sustainability, and it is difficult to control who uses your data and how they use it unless administrative procedures are in place.
    • Informal peer-to-peer sharing makes it difficult to know which data can be obtained where: it requires people to have the right contacts, makes managing data access a burden, and does not ensure availability of the data in the long-term.
    • For RCUK applicants: anticipated costs of depositing research data arising from a project – whether to an internal or an external repository ‐ may be included as direct costs in a grant application.
      • Adequate justification should be provided within the grant application and the expenditure must take place before the actual end date of the project.
    • Where data arising from a research grant is destined for a subject‐specific data repository directly supported by one or more research councils, the allowable expenditure on the research grant would be limited to cost of preparing the data for deposit and ingestion by that repository. (For more details, see the RCUK’s responses to questions asked at a 2103 DCC/RDMP event.)
    • My data is already on my website – do I need to deposit it elsewhere?

      Yes! Most digital repositories are compliant with technical standards that enable cross-archive searching.  A publication or dataset placed in a repository is far easier to find than through an individual’s website. Several search engines such as Google or Google Scholar favour OAI-repository material, and display these results more prominently.

      Moreover, repositories are working to preserve materials in the long-term. A key benefit is that if a researcher moves on, or their personal website changes, their publications and data are in a repository – meaning the links will remain stable, and the material readable and accessible. Publishers’ policies regarding self-archiving can be found at the SHERPA/RoMEO website.

Tools, resources, and training

Jisc Sherpa Services

Details of funders’ and publishers’ policies regarding open access data archiving and publishing.
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Data Repositories

A list of repositories and databases for open data from the Open Access Directory.
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University of Oxford Text Archive

OTA is a repository of digital literary and linguistic resources for research and teaching.
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NERC Datacentres

A network of environmental data centres for NERC-funded scientific data.
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Dryad Digital Repository

A curated repository designed to make data underlying scientific publications freely reusable.
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An open source web application for sharing, preserving, citing, exploring, and analysing research data.
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The European Bioinformatics Institute provides freely available data from life science experiments.
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Global Health Data Management

Network and resources for data managers with an interest in clinical research.
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Science as an Open Enterprise

A 2012 report from the Royal Society advocating openness and sharing of scientific data.
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Share It

A brief slideshow about the benefits of making your data available for re-use by others.
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