Sharing data is now required by major governmental and philanthropic funding agencies, and many journals require it as a prerequisite for publication. There are generally three approaches to sharing data. We will elaborate on each of these categories in the boxes below.
If you are looking for data but not sure where to start for searching data in your discipline, there are a number of resources out there that can help narrow down your search. In this section we include directories of data repositories which can help you identify a place to store, or discover data relating to your discipline. These are excellent resources for finding discipline-specific repositories.
It is often useful to collect different types of data into one data record, especially if they are associated with specific publications, research grants, or research groups. General purpose repositories offer the most flexibility in terms of types of data that can be stored. They create permanent identifiers to ensure data is citable, and maintain metadata standards that connect data to their respective publications, grants or research groups.
Many established repositories have built-in mechanisms to maintain data integrity and discoverability, making it easier for researchers to maintain data they might need to share with collaborators or colleagues. Most importantly, established data repositories are able to issue of permanent identifier links (like Digital Object Identifiers, or DOIs), commonly used for improving discoverability and citing journal articles.
Repositories allow researchers to include metadata describing appropriate uses for the deposited data and include metrics that researchers can use to monitor reuse of the data. Repositories also minimize the burden on faculty and researchers for data sharing requests by allowing researchers to directly link deposited data with their publications, instead of relying on formal requests.
Finally, there are specialized data repositories built for protected data, allowing researchers to privately store and control access to sensitive data. This ensures data can be stored with the appropriate security protocols further minimizing the security burden on long-term storage of protected data.