Why share data?
- Increase your impact. Data are increasingly recognized as a scholarly product in their own right. Making them discoverable, available, and citable can increase the visibility and impact of your work.
- Move science forward. Reproducibility is a cornerstone of scientific inquiry. By making your data openly available and usable, you allow other researchers to verify your results and build on them. This helps reduce fraud and waste and generally adds to a global pool of scientific knowledge.
- It’s required. Many journals are requiring a Data Availability or Data Archiving Policy as a prerequisite for publication. These vary according to publisher, but may require that you submit supporting data, deposit your data in a repository for which you provide a persistent link, or make your own contact information available for data access requests.
Short-term data sharing
During active research you may need to share your data with colleagues in a collaborative environment. There are many options for this, depending on the complexity of your project.
- Networked drives. Your college or department may support centralized file-sharing via a local network. This is preferable to storing data on your desktop computer and sharing via removable drives, but may not be adequate for inter-departmental or external data sharing.
- Cloud services. There are many cloud services available for no or low-cost to UT faculty, staff, and students, that may be suitable for file sharing and collaborative research. UT Box, for example, is approved for most types of confidential data.
- Online. Sharing data on a project web page may be a good option, especially for sharing data with larger audiences. Be aware that this solution can be hard to maintain for the longer term, especially after your project is over and/or funding is no longer available.
For the longer term, it’s a good idea to deposit and share your data via a stable, trustworthy repository that comes with a commitment to maintaining datasets and providing long-term, persistent access.
- Find a disciplinary data repository. Look first for a repository specifically relevant to your academic discipline, such as ICPSR for social science research, or GenBank for genomic sequence data. This will increase the visibility of your data within your field, and will also likely be more tailored to your needs.
- Use a general purpose data repository. If you cannot find or do not have access to a suitable disciplinary repository, a general purpose repositories may suit your needs. Examples include DRYAD for general biosciences or figshare for an even wider variety.
- Enable data citation. Reinforce data citation within your own presentations and papers. Where possible, references should be to a permanent location so that others can locate and use it, and cite it in turn. Indeed, many journals are now requesting a persistent URL for your data as a prerequisite for publication.
- Provide persistent access. If you want your data to be found and cited, you need to use identifiers that are globally unique and persistent. That is to say, they must not be repeated elsewhere and they must not change over time. Digital Object Identifiersare a good choice for data.
- Understand your rights. Data as facts are not generally copyrightable, but their organization and presentation may be. Likewise there may be access restrictions due to the presence of sensitive information. Different licensing options can be found at the Open Data Commons. If you have questions about copyright and data please contact Colleen Lyon.
Tools and Resources
Short-term data sharing:
- A variety of web and database services are available from TACC and ITS, or may be provided by your College or department.
- This decision matrix from our campus ISO can help you locate cloud services that are approved for various types of confidential data.
- Re3data.org is a global registry of data repositories organized by academic discipline. A rating system and faceted browsing can help you find the best place to deposit your data.
- Texas ScholarWorks (TSW) is UT’s web-accessible DSpace repository, managed by UT Libraries. A free and secure place for archiving and sharing faculty research output, it provides persistent URLs, searchable metadata, full-text indexing and long-term preservation.
- The Texas Data Repository (TDR) is now open! Hosted by the Texas Digital Library, and based on Harvard University’s Dataverse platform, TDR will serve as a long-term solution for sharing and dissemination of UT’s research data. Contact Jessica Trelogan for help or find out more here.
- Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are a good choice for a persistent identifier for your data. They are widely used by publishers, libraries, and government agencies, and are available for free through UT Libraries. The University of California’s EZID service is provided by UT Libraries. Contact us to request a DOI.