Data Storage and Repositories

This guide provides current information on data storage for short and long term uses.

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Research Data Repository Requirements

Types of Repositories - Pros and Cons

Type of Repository Pros Cons
Domain-specific data repository most likely to provide domain expertise for data retention and searching; most visible to your colleagues More selective; higher standards for metadata and documentation
General purpose data repository most likely to provide useful search and navigation tools More need for contract review for copyright, long-term preservation and appropriateness to your funder and/or publisher
Institutional data repository most likely to accept a variety of data and to ensure long-term preservation is happy to accept your papers; however, it is unable to support data files.
Journal supplementary material services Most likely to comply to publisher's requirements May be costly and may not support long-term storage and preservation needs.
Departmental, project or personal webpage and collections Tailored to your data and collection. Traditional method of sharing Less visible to potential users, requires personal or departmental upkeep and unlikely to sustain long-term access to your data


Questions to ask when reviewing a data repository?

Reputation -

  • Is it endorsed by a funding agency, scholarly journal, or professional society. 
  • Is it listed in the Registery of Research Data Repositories or
  • Is it known in your scholarly community ?

Sustainability -

  • Is it supported by a stable entity? 
  • Will it be providing access to your data for over 5 years (or the requirements of your granting agency)?
  • Does it have a preservation plan? even if funding for the repository ceases?

Visibility -

  • Will the repository provide a unique identifier (DOI, handle or another unique identifier) in order for people to cite your data? 
  • Is the repository familiar to people within your field of inquiry and accepted and used?

Usability -

  • Does the repository support access and downloading of your data in a way that does not limit the sharing of the data?
  • Does the repository make datasets available to any interested readers at no cost, and with no registration requirements, access fees, or subscription fees.

Features -

  • If integration with project management or storage tools (GitHub) is important to you, are these offered?
  • Is there an author dashboard to view statistics of use and download or to make Creative Commons licensing more apparent or easier to implement? 
  • Does it have storage limits and is there a fee?

Formats -

  • Can the repository accept your data formats or will conversion be needed? 
  • Does the repository have preview capabilities?

Rights -

  • Does the repositories provide an option for data to be available under open licenses (CC0 or CC BY) (or equivalents that are no less restrictive)?
  • Does the repository place its own restrictions on derivative works or commercial use?

With all things equal,  it is commonly recommended to place materials in a subject repository if one is available; followed by a general repository; and finally a regional or institutional repository.