Research data management

Sharing your data

Your research data can have significant value beyond your original project, via reuse or in combination with other datasets. As a result, sharing your data can be beneficial to both you and the wider research community. The following guide and useful links will give you the information you need to share your data effectively.

Why should I share my data?

Common worries about sharing data include: risk of losing one's competitive edge, concern that others will misinterpret/misuse data and risk of being open to scrutiny. However, there also benefits to be gained though sharing your data, for example it:

  • allows independent validation of results
  • increases the impact and visibility of research
  • makes best use of investment by avoiding replication
  • leads to new collaborations and partnerships
  • advances research when datasets are combined in new and innovative ways

If you plan for data sharing from the beginning of your project, you can decide on a method of providing access that you are comfortable with.

What does my funder expect?

Many public research funders increasingly follow guidance from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and expect data sharing wherever possible. The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) provides an overview of funders' policies including data sharing requirements and Sherpa Juliet provides a searchable international database of funders' open access and archiving requirements. 

How do I share my data?

Your data can be shared via the Sussex Research Data Repository Figshare.  Figshare is a free service for Sussex academics that presents data in an easy to use interface that promotes reuse.  Click here for more information on the Sussex Research Data Repository.

You can deposit your data with specialist data centres/archives and repositories so it is more widely available. Examples of data centres include the UK Data Archive for Social Sciences and Visual Art Data Service (VADS).

In many cases, it is also possible to submit your data to the journal, along with an associated publication.

Initiatives such as DataCite, a registry assigning unique digital object identifiers (DOIs) to research data, help scientists to make their data citable, traceable and findable, so that research data, as well as publications based on those data, form part of a researcher's scientific output.

You may also wish to make certain data and information available on your project website and direct interested parties there, rather than handling each request individually.

Data can also be shared informally between researchers on a peer-to-peer basis.