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Research Data Management: Data sharing & re-use

Resources for learning about best practices in research data management across a variety of disciplines.

Why share research data?

Sharing data is now encouraged by major funding agencies, and many journals require it as a prerequisite for publication. The NSF specifically states:

Investigators are expected to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants. Grantees are expected to encourage and facilitate such sharing.

In addition to funder requirements, data sharing is important because it can lead to a broader impact for your research and facilitate advances in science. Sharing your data in a subject repository will facilitate the sharing and re-use of your data.

Data citation

Data citation is an important component of data sharing and data reuse. Citing data gives data creators credit for creating and sharing their work, and creates a trail of research progress similar to the citation of articles and books.

These guidelines will also help you make sure that the data you generate and share is also citable by others.

Check with the journal you're publishing in to see if they have a data citation format recommendation. Many journals and citation styles don't specifically require you to cite research data, or they don't give you specific citation guidelines for a research data set. In this case, you should still cite data you use in your analysis and publications with these key elements:

  • Author(s)
  • Title
  • Year of publication: The date when the dataset was published or released (rather than the collection or coverage date)
  • Publisher: the data center/repository
  • Any applicable identifier (including edition or version)
  • Availability and access: URL or other location information for the data

DataCite is an international organization that helps researchers to find, access, and use data. Their recommended data citation format is:

  • Creator (PublicationYear): Title. Publisher. Identifier

It may also be desirable to include information from two optional properties, Version and ResourceType (as appropriate). If so, the recommended form is as follows:

  • Creator (PublicationYear): Title. Version. Publisher. ResourceType. Identifier

For citation purposes, DataCite recommends that DOI names are displayed as linkable, permanent URLs:

Learn more about DOI and other persistent identifiers.