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Open access

Research Data Management

Choosing a data archive

As a first step, you should check if your funder places a requirement on you to use a particular archive:

  • ESRC grant holders should offer their data to the UK Data Service.
  • NERC grant holders should offer their data to the most appropriate of the NERC data centres.

Some other funders do not have a strict requirement but provide a list of recommended data repositories:

Similarly, some journals require that data underlying submissions should be archived, and specify one or more archives they consider acceptable:

  • Several journals have an agreement with the Dryad repository to use it for data underlying their papers.
  • Earth System Science Data and certain other journals related to earth system research require that underlying data are submitted to PANGAEA.

Others recommend a range of repositories:

In the absence of recommendations from either your funder or journal, you can look up data repositories relevant to your discipline using the following services:

  • re3data, the Registry of Research Data Repositories, is a general directory of data archives.
  • BioSharing includes a catalogue of databases relevant to the life sciences.

Assessing the suitability of an external data archive

If you are unsure whether an external data repository is a suitable long-term home for your data, consider the following questions:

  • What type of data does the repository accept and what is its subject focus?
  • Does the data repository already have good reputation in your field and is it recommended by your funder or journal?
  • Will the repository provide enough metadata to enable your data be discovered and cited by other researchers?
  • Will the repository issue your data with a persistent identifier, such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or other persistent identifier (PID), that you can include in your data access statement? A search for archives in re3data allows you to tick a box restricting results to those that provide persistent identifiers.
  • Are access restrictions or embargoes permitted? Will the archive ensure that confidential or personal data are secured if that is required?
  • Do the archive's terms and conditions fit with the University's Intellectual Property policy? For example, does the archive require that you assign any copyright in the data to the archive? We recommend avoiding using archives that require transfer of rights.
  • What licences are available and do they comply with the University's Research Data Policy?
  • Is the archive established and well-funded, so that you can be confident it will still operate in ten years' time?

For more guidance, see the checklist 'Where to keep research data', published by the Digital Curation Centre.

For advice on the suitability of a given archive, please contact the Library's Research Data Service.