Research data management

Prepare your data

University policy states that 'Research data will be made available to other researchers and to the public in an appropriate and accessible form and in a timely way wherever such publication is practical, legal, ethical, and commercially viable.'

Here you can learn more about how to select and prepare your data to comply with this.

Gather your data

You can choose to use the Sussex Research Data Repository as a place to keep data that you intend to publish at the end the end of your project – describe it during your project rather than rushing to do it at the end.

Invite other members of your research team to join your project web page so they can all put data in the same place. They don't have to be members of the University to join a project.

Or you can keep your data in another place, like Box.com and then upload and publish to the repository at the end of your research project.

Select which files to publish

There is no expectation that you should share and publish the entirety of your research data. You may not want, or be able to share all of your research data because of legal and ethical considerations. When deciding what data you should keep and publish, you might want to consider the following:

  • Reuse purposes - how could your data be reused and does it have any long term value?
  • Does the data directly support the findings in your research output?
  • Does the data enable others to follow the process leading to published findings and to potentially reproduce them?
  • Does the data lend itself to be analysed using methods not employed in your project?
  • Are there disciplinary regulations that require data to be published?

Legal considerations

It is important that you consider the possible legal implications of sharing data. You should consider:

  • Does the data have any value to commercial partners? Make sure that all rights holders are aware of the licence that their data is made available under.
  • Are there any contractual terms that prohibit the publication of the data?
  • Is it reasonable to believe that the data may be used in any public enquiries or police investigations? If so, you may need to set an embargo period until these have concluded.

Funders requirements

Funders of research are now requiring researcers to share their data in an open access repository. You should check with your funder if there are any specific terms that you need to adhere to in order to satisfy these requirements. Sherpa Juliet can help you find your funder's conditions about open access publication.

DPA/Ethics

The Data Protection Act sets specific criteria about how personal data should be kept and processed. Before sharing any data you should consider the following:

  • Does your data contain information that could identify individuals either in isolation or through linking it with another dataset?
  • Have you gained written consent from data subjects that allows you to use personal data for the purpose of publication and reuse?
  • Is it possible to share the data in a form where individuals and personal data have been anonymised?
  • You must check if your research requires ethical review by the University. See the Research and Enterprise self assessment checklist to see help you decide if your research requires ethical review: Self assessment checklist.

Group your files together into datasets

You should think about the granularity of your datasets - will you be depositing an individual file or a group of files? Figshare supports several ways to organise your data into useful groups of related items. Options available include:

  • Create a Project folder that describes your research project - this project can act as a container that allows you to describe individual files seperately.
  • Create an item with many different types of files in, this allows you to describe the dataset as a whole without having to describe each file individually.
  • If you want to preserve a multiple level folder structure that you've used to organise your data, you can zip this folder up and attach it to an item in Figshare. The folder structure can be browsed in the Figshare online viewer.
  • For a large research project - a group can be created and can be branded with a banner and logo to enhance the presentation of your dataset.  Contact the Library at research-data@sussex.ac.uk to discuss if you think your project might benefit from this option.

Large and complex research projects

Figshare offers several ways you can organise your data depending on the size and complexity of your research project. Send an email to: research-data@sussex.ac.uk and let us know about your project and what your requirements are. We can help you identify the best way to organise and present your data.