Research Data Management Guide: Share Your Data

Repository Directories

  • (over 1500 research data repositories listed)
  • NIH Data Sharing Repositories (63 repositories listed)
  • OpenDOAR (over 2600 academic open access repositories listed, including those that specifically support research data access and sharing)

Looking for Assistance?

Do you have questions about how to share your data? For assistance with identifying an appropriate data repository/journal, preparing your data for submission, and learning more about the library's data citation services, please email us at for individual assistance.


Issues to Consider When Sharing Your Data

In order to ensure you share your data in an ethical manner, you should:

If you work with sensitive data, contact for advice and support, and see the Considerations in Data Sharing page for more information.

Benefits of Data Sharing

Your data can be shared by:

  • Deposit in a specialist data center or archive
  • Submitting to a journal to support a publication
  • Deposit in a self-archiving system or an institutional repository (ours is VTechData )
  • Dissemination via a project or institutional website
  • Informal peer-to-peer exchange

Sharing your data with others allows you to: 

  • Comply with federal funding agency and journal publisher guidelines

As the federal government has expressed interest in the results of federally-funded research, including datasets, to be publicly available, federal funders are expanding data sharing requirements. Several journals (such as Nature and PLoS ONE) also require that authors make their data available to readers.

  • Increase your research impact

Depositing your data in a data repository or publishing a "data paper" elevates your data sets into visible, citable research outputs that can be listed on your CV or National Science Foundation biosketch.

  • Promote new discoveries, benefit the greater research community, and support open access

Openly sharing your data allows other researchers to replicate your work or to reuse your data in new ways. Sharing your data with other researchers can lead to new and unanticipated discoveries, while providing research materials for those with little or no funding. You can also show your support for open access by sharing your data.

Best Ways to Share Your Data for Archival and Preservation Purposes

There are many alternatives to provide long-term access to your research data and to receive credit for doing so.  Contact for assistance in evaluating your options!

  • Deposit data in an external repository

There are many data repositories available for researchers including subject-specific repositories. To find a place to deposit research data, search re3data or ask for assistance in evaluating repository options at

VTech Data is a platform for openly publishing datasets or other research products created by Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students.

Repositories like VTech Data provide for:

  • Long-term preservation of data in standardized accessible data formats,
  • Protection of data in a secure environment with ability to control access where required,
  • Assurances that data meet basic quality standards,
  • Regular data backups,
  • Standardized citation mechanisms to acknowledge data ownership (See cite data below),
  • Promotion of data to many users, and
  • Management of access to data and user queries on behalf of the data owner.
  • Publish data in a "data paper"

A data paper or article is a standalone publication providing detailed context for and description of research datasets that is somewhat independent of the original data analysis and interpretation. It is an opportunity for researchers and data producers to gain acknowledgement for their research data products. This is a relatively new way to share research data and facilitates re-use. The number of data journals is quickly growing and includes Nature's Scientific Data. Here is a list of data journals that publish data papers.

Although publishers have begun to publish data papers/data descriptors, many publishers do not host your data; instead publishers suggest you depositing a dataset into trusted data repositories. For instance, Geoscience Data Journal requests authors to deposit a dataset in a registered repository, along with the associated metadata for the dataset, before submitting for publication. Geoscience Data Journal lists about 20 trusted repositories as deposit options.

  • Cite data using persistent identifiers

Data citation is a practice of providing a reference to data in the same way researchers routinely provide bibliographic references to a journal article or book. In an article of a traditional or data journal, a dataset can be cited with a persistent digital object identifier (DOI) as a URL that points to where the data resides, such as a data repository, allowing researchers to access and download the data. To promote the growing culture of data citation, VT University Libraries offers DOI assignment and registration of datasets, including for those published in VTechData. Contact for more information regarding DOI for datasets.


Further Reading

Example Repositories