The million-dollar question for many researchers is where to deposit their data. This matter troubles STEM and humanities researchers alike: your choice of repository may mean a large and far-reaching impact or little to no reuse.
In the Linking your data to a publication page, we discuss a few options to deposit data. Here, we provide further guidance on this topic.
Pathways to deposit research data
Generally speaking, we highlight three pathways to share your data:
- Using an online repository: this option involves depositing your results in a database, which can be disciplinary, institutional, or generalist. We recommend the use of disciplinary repositories for the highest visibility among your peers. Institutional and generalist and repositories are suitable alternatives, as long as they provide a DOI.
- Sharing data along with a publication: journals often give you the chance to share data when submitting an article. This might limit the visibility of your data (as it will be a “subset” of the article) but it will stress its links with the results. For more information on this pathway, you should refer to the policy of your journal of choice or to the guidance by the Australian National Data Service.
- Preparing a data article for a data journal: if you have carried out extensive work on the data, you might wish or need to explain it. A data article gives you the chance to describe tools, methods and processes, to fully characterise your data. A data article accompanies a dataset and goes through peer review. This increases its credibility but is an extra burden for the data depositor.
Choosing the right repository solution
If you decide to go down the repository route, your institutional library will be able to advise on local provision, while the following websites may help in identifying discipline-specific and generalist options:
- re3data : this website gathers details for over 2,000 repositories that you can filter by subject and country.
- FAIRsharing : this website includes over 1,000 repositories, mostly in the fields of life science and biomedical science.
- SpringerNature Scientific Data’s recommendations : these include options sourced from re3data and FAIRsharing. SpringerNature appraised these repositories to ensure they meet their requirements for data access, preservation and stability.
- Research Pipeline : a privately-maintained list of repositories, this includes 140 disciplinary databases. Note that this page is updated less often than the above, so we recommend you use it as a last resort.
- Generalist repositories: there exist a few alternatives for these, with different affiliations and governance. You can have a look at Zenodo , Figshare , Dryad and Harvard Dataverse . It should be noted that Figshare is a commercial solution, while Zenodo and Harvard Dataverse are public ones.
Other considerations on data deposit
If you wish to deposit software, the Software Sustainability Institute compiled a list of suitable journals split by discipline.
In all the above cases, do remember that you need appropriate metadata. When choosing where to deposit your work, you should also make sure that you make a note of the metadata standards and fields required. The Research Data Alliance compiled a list of disciplinary metadata standards . These have all been appraised and represent current practice in the fields considered.