You can share your data easily by emailing it to a colleague or posting a file on a website. Unfortunately, informal methods of data sharing make it difficult for other researchers to find your data. Depositing your data in an archive or repository will facilitate its discovery and preservation, and facilitate proper citation. Repositories are maintained by many academic discipline communities, by funding agencies to provide access to funded research, and by academic institutions to protect community member research.
Image: By Roche DG, Lanfear R, Binning SA, Haff TM, Schwanz LE, et al. (2014) [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Some journals such as Nature, Science, and PLoS ONE require authors to make all supporting data available to readers. Check journal policies and author guidelines prior to submitting your article to any journal for publication.
If you are looking for a repository to archive and share your data or looking for archived data to reuse, the Registry of Research Data Repositories (re3data.org) and the Data Repository listing on the Open Access Directory Wiki are two excellent places to start.
Note: Not all repositories can ensure long-term preservation of your data; always contact the repository for details before submitting your data.
|Field/Discipline||Example of data archive or repository|
|Earth Sciences||British Atmospheric Data Centre (UK)|
|Earth Sciences||NCAR/UCAR Community Data Portal|
|Life Sciences||Protein Data Bank|
DataCite is an international organization with the aim to "establish easier access to research data on the Internet, increase acceptance of research data as legitimate, citable contributions to the scholarly record; and support data archiving that will permit results to be verified and re-purposed for future study."
DataCite recommends the following format for data citation. Version and Resource Type (as appropriate) are optional properties:
Here are some examples from the DataCite website:
You'll want to put your datasets where other people can access them and give your datasets identifiers that can be referenced easily. Many repositories assign data identifies to your data.
Data identifiers must be globally unique and persistent. That is to say, they must not be repeated elsewhere and they must not change over time.
There are many different schemes: