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RDM Snippets – Finding Repositories for Your Data

Posted by on November 4th, 2020 Posted in: Data

Now that your data has been organized nicely, saved in an open file format, and have your data packed up safely in storage, it’s time to consider where to put your data for the long term. Repositories come in several different flavors. A publisher or funder may dictate where data needs to be stored, but they will almost certainly require that it be deposited somewhere.

Aside from funder requirements, depositing data in a repository will allow other researchers to discover datasets for potential re-use, following the FAIR principles for data use, and encourages a culture of sharing and reuse in the scientific community.

As you’re working with researchers, remember the different types of repositories and consider the right fit for the data.

Institutional repositories collect research and other works from one institution. Even if the dataset or publication is being published elsewhere, many times a pre-print or other version of the work can also be deposited in an institutional repository. Check the contract, and find out the terms for datasets. Not all institutional repositories will be able to handle large datasets, so find out what your institution offers.

Disciplinary repositories store data from a research discipline, and may be broad, such as a general biology repository, or specific to one organism or type of research. Sharing like with with like is a way for other researchers to find datasets to use in their work and to see what others in your field are doing.

General repositories allow for all types of data deposits, and can take documents and other materials in addition to the datasets. This is also a good option for smaller datasets, conference materials, and other materials related to the dataset. OSF, Figshare, and Zenodo are some of the most commonly used general repositories. CodeOcean shares code and related materials.

There are many directories available to help find appropriate repositories. Re3Data allows you to search by subject area and includes humanities and science disciplines, broken down to very granular subject areas. They also offer searches by content type or country. NIH has a data sharing requirement as part of the grant process, and offers directories of domain-specific and generalist repositories. 

Lastly, remember to check the terms of each repository for information about what type of content you can upload, sharing terms, options for private vs. public access. Remember that they may not always include preservation as part of their service, so make a plan for how your data will be preserved for the long-term if that is not included.

This wraps up the main series of RDM Snippets! Next month there will be a Bonus post on tools that you and your researchers can use while working to manage data.

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This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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