A data repository is a storage space for researchers to deposit data sets associated with their research. And if you’re an author seeking to comply with a journal data sharing policy, you’ll need to identify a suitable repository for your data.
An open access data repository openly stores data in a way that allows immediate user access to anyone. There are no limitations to the repository access.
Publishing tips, direct to your inbox
Expert tips and guidance on getting published and maximizing the impact of your research. Register now for weekly insights direct to your inbox.
First we recommend speaking to your institutional librarian, funder or colleagues at your institution for guidance on choosing a repository that is relevant to your discipline. You can also use FAIRsharing and re3data.org to search for a suitable repository – both provide a list of certified data repositories.
For cases where there is no subject-specific repository, you may wish to consider some of the generalist data repository types below.
We encourage authors to select a data repository that issues a persistent identifier, preferably a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and has established a robust preservation plan to ensure the data is preserved in perpetuity. Additionally, we highly encourage researchers to consider the FAIR Data Principles when depositing data.
Frequently asked questions about using data repositories
The journal I’m submitting to is double-anonymous. What repository should I use?
If you’re submitting your article to a journal with a double-anonymous peer review policy and a data policy that mandates sharing, then you will need to deposit your data in a repository that preserves anonymity, i.e. blinds the details of the authors.
You can use the repository Figshare to generate a ‘private sharing link’ for free. This can be sent via email and the recipient can access the data without logging in or having a Figshare account. This feature is especially for anonymous peer review; you can generate a private sharing link to anonymize data for reviewers. It does not include the Author field or any non-Figshare branding. It is important to note that these links expire after one year however; therefore you should not cite them in publications.
Dryad is another (paid for) alternative which allows you to make your data temporarily “private for peer review.” Dryad uses professional curators to ensure the validity of the files and descriptive information.
The policy states I need to share my data in a ‘FAIR aligned’ repository. What repository should I use?
The repository finder tool, developed by DataCite allows you to search for repositories which are certified and support the FAIR data principles.
I need to limit access to my data in a repository. How can I do this?
There are a number of generalist repositories which allow you to limit access to your data, whether permanently or following an embargo period. Some of the repositories offering this functionality include:
Figshare – You can generate a ‘private sharing link’ for free. This can be sent via email address and the recipient can access the data without logging in or having a Figshare account.
Zenodo – Users may deposit restricted files with the ability to share access with others if certain requirements are met. These files will not be publicly available. The depositor of the original file will need to approve sharing of the data. You can also deposit content under an embargo status and provide an end date for the embargo; at the end date the content will become publicly available automatically.
OSF – You can make your project private or public and alternate between the two settings. You can have different privacy settings on your project and components, controlling which parts are public or private.
You may choose to limit access to your data if the journal you’re submitting your article to has a ‘share upon reasonable request‘ data sharing policy.