There is more than one avenue through which you can share your data. As you start your research consider how your data can be shared.

The digital revolution has caused a strong drive towards open access of information, with the internet making information sharing fast, easy, powerful and empowering.

Scholarly publishing has seen a strong move towards open access to increase the impact of research, with e-journals, 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 for data that underpin research findings to be published in open access repositories when manuscripts are submitted.

Your data can be shared by:

  • deposit in a specialist data centre or archive
  • submitting to a journal to support a publication
  • deposit in a self-archiving system or an institutional repository
  • dissemination via a project or institutional website
  • informal peer-to-peer exchange

The route you take may vary according to your research discipline and environment. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these routes.

Data centres and archives can provide safe-keeping with controlled access to sensitive data, but does your data fit into their acquisition policies?

An institutional repository can offer a place to store data but the suitability of its access conditions and preservation policy and the ability for other researchers to discover your data need to be assessed.

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, requires the right contact, makes managing data access a burden and does not ensure availability of the data in the long-term.

All ESRC researchers are contractually required to offer data to the UK Data Archive through the UK Data Service which has staff on hand to support award applicants and award holders by providing advice and guidance on data management issues. Contacting the Archive early on is highly beneficial. Contact us if you need to ask more.

The advantages of depositing data with a specialist data centre include:

  • assurance that data meet set quality standards
  • long-term preservation of data in standardised accessible data formats, converting formats when needed due to software upgrades or changes
  • safe-keeping of data in a secure environment with the ability to control access where required
  • regular data back-ups
  • online resource discovery of data through data catalogues
  • access to data in popular formats
  • licensing arrangements to acknowledge data rights
  • standardised citation mechanism to acknowledge data ownership
  • promotion of data to many users
  • monitoring of the secondary usage of data
  • management of access to data and user queries on behalf of the data owner