Funding bodies and publishers are increasingly requiring data sharing 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, sharing your data 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 shared ethically and legally if researchers take time to:
- include provision for data sharing when gaining informed consent;
- protect personal, sensitive or confidential information via anonymization;
- consider controlling access to data or adding embargoes; and
- apply an appropriate licence (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 sharing policies
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) policy on data sharing for bioinformatics, atomic and molecular co-ordinates, gene sequences.
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) policy on data sharing
- International list of funding agencies policies on data sharing: SHERPA Juliet
- US funding agencies policies on data sharing: SPARC datasharing
Sharing research data
McGill faculty, students, and staff are welcome to deposit datasets in the McGill Dataverse repository. 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