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Research Data Toolkit

This guide is intended to help researchers, data creators or others who manage digital data as part of a research project, plan, organize, describe, share and preserve their research data for the long term.

Why Share Your Research Data?

Research data may be useful well beyond the end of a research project. By sharing your data with others you are providing a valuable resource to those interested in reusing your data and expounding upon your initial investigations. In addition, your funder may require you to outline your plans for sharing and preserving your research data in your data management plan. 

 Some benefits of sharing research data include:

  • Expands scientific inquiry and investigation.
  • Encourages diversity of analysis and opinion.
  • Sparks new ideas for research.
  • Makes possible the testing of new hypotheses or analysis.
  • Provides a framework for future studies on data collection, analysis and measurement.
  • Enables other researchers to explore new topics not thought of by an original researcher.
  • Provides a valuable educational resource for new researchers.

Options for Sharing & Long-Term Preservation

There are many options available for sharing and preserving your research data.  Ensuring that data are usable and understandable by others requires some thought and planning.  You may choose to use, services such as an institutional repository, external repositories, data centers, or journal publishers. Another option is to make your data sharable through a project website. 

There are various ways to share research data, including:

  • Making them available online through a research project or institutional website
  • Sharing them informally with other researchers on a peer-to-peer basis

Tips for Selecting a Repository for Depositing Data

When choosing a repository it is important to consider factors such as whether the repository.
  • Provides you with a login accessible account which allows you access your data and make any up-dates.
  • Supplies guidance on submitting your data and provides a mode for you to communicate with them before, during, and after you submit your data. 
  • Gives your submitted dataset a persistent and unique identifier so your data is findable, citable, and can be linked to your publications and other grants.
  • Provides a landing page for each dataset, with metadata that helps others find it, tell what it is, relate it to publications, and cite it. 
  • Helps you to track how the data has been used by providing access and download statistics.
  • Offers clear terms and conditions in terms of reuse without unnecessary licensing conditions. Many repositories use the CCO Creative Commons, which provides public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work.
  • Provides guidance on how to cite the data that has been deposited.
  • Gives explicit details about the fee required for you to deposit your data.