Research Data Management Guide: Share Your Data
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for individual assistance.
Issues to Consider When Sharing Your Data
In order to ensure you share your data in an ethical manner, you should:
- Evaluate the anonymity of your data
- Comply with institutional regulations (e.g., Virginia Tech Institutional Review Board, IRB)
- Comply with other regulations (e.g., HIPAA)
- Have informed consent for data sharing
- Restrict use of confidential data
If you work with sensitive data, contact email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
- Deposit data in VTechData
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding DOI for datasets.
- A list of US research funder open access requirements for publications and data (summarized by MIT, contact email@example.com with questions)
- Browse data sharing requirements by federal agency (provided by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
- A list of journal policies for data sharing and replication (scroll down to Journal Policies, compiled by Gary King)
- The (DA-RT) Data Access and Research Transparency Joint Statement (adopted by Political Science Journals)
- Article by Adamick and Reznik-Zellen (2010). Trends in Large-Scale Subject Repositories.