Funding bodies and publishers are increasingly requiring data deposit (i.e. publishing) of research results alongside publication. Making data accessible in a trusted data repository has the following advantages, it: allows others to verify your research; encourages others to cite your research; can lead to new contacts from potential collaborators, funders, and other interested parties; provides a securely-stored, authoritative copy of your data; and may be found by another research who can then use it in other research. Ultimately, making your data available to other researchers and/or the public is good for society, academia and future research (see a more comprehensive Guide to Research Data Management).
Research data-even sensitive and confidential data-can be deposited ethically and legally if researchers take time to:
- include provision for data deposit when gaining informed consent;
- protect personal, sensitive or confidential information via anonymization;
- consider controlling access to data or adding embargoes; and
- apply an appropriate license (see the Guide to Open Data Licensing).
Many repositories offer embargo periods where the data is kept private until you are ready for its release.
Funders with data archiving policies
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) policy on data archiving
- International list of funding agencies policies on data deposit: SHERPA Juliet
- US funding agencies policies on data sharing: SPARC datasharing
Depositing research data
McGill faculty, students, and staff are welcome to deposit datasets in the McGill Dataverse collection. All data are stored securely on servers located in Canada. Data can be publicly accessible, available to specific individuals, or private/restricted.
A wide variety of additional data repositories and databases are available that archive research data from many subject areas. Coverage varies by discipline.
McGill researchers who wish to look for a domain-specific data repository are encouraged to start by using Re3data.org which provides a comprehensive listings of disciplinary and institutional repositories to host and share research data.
Other places to find lists of data repositories include:
- Nature - Recommended data repositories
- Open Access Directory (OAD) - List of repositories and databases for open data
- PLOS One - Recommended data repositories
- Email the data.library [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Data%20Sharing%20Question) (R)alisa.rod [at] mcgill.ca (esearch Data Management Specialist). We can advise you on reputable repositories in your field.
The following list names a few, reputable general data repositories:
- Figshare - a general purpose repository often used in partnership w/ PLOS publications.
- Dryad - frequently used for scientific and medical publication
- ICPSR - a repository commonly used for social sciences data
- Scholar's Portal Dataverse - the Canadian high level Dataverse that connects Canadian institutional dataverses such as the McGill Dataverse. The SP Dataverse may be a good solution for cross-institutional collaborations.
- FRDR - The Federated Research Data Repository is a Canadian solution for archiving projects involving large amounts of data or big data