Depositing data in external archives

The University of Bath University of Bath Research Data Archive will accept data from any research project undertaken at the University, but sometimes it may be more appropriate to deposit data in an external repository, data archive or data centre:

  • Your funder or journal may require you to offer your data to a particular archive.
  • There may be reference databases or data products (sometimes called 'structured repositories') for your discipline to which researchers are expected to contribute their data.
  • As a more general case of the above, data of a given type tend to be more visible in data centres that specialise in that type. Because of economies of scale, such centres are also able to take a more active role in curating the data than generalist archives.

Finding a suitable data archive

As a first step, you should check if your funder places a requirement on you to use a particular archive:

  • ESRC grant holders should offer their data to the UK Data Service (external website)
  • NERC grant holders should offer their data to the most appropriate of the NERC data centres (external website)

Some other funders do not have a strict requirement but provide a list of recommended data repositories:

Similarly, some journals require that data underlying submissions should be archived, and specify one or more archives they consider acceptable:

In the absence of recommendations from either your funder or journal, you can look up data repositories relevant to your discipline using the following services:

  • re3data (external website), the Registry of Research Data Repositories, is a general directory of data archives.
  • BioSharing (external website) includes a catalogue of databases relevant to the life sciences.

Assessing the suitability of an external data archive

If you are unsure whether an external data repository is a suitable long-term home for your data, consider the following questions:

  • What type of data does the repository accept and what is its subject focus?
  • Does the data repository already have good reputation in your field and is it recommended by your funder or journal?
  • Will the repository provide enough metadata to enable your data be discovered and cited by other researchers?
  • Will the repository issue your data with a persistent identifier, such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or an accession number, that you can include in your data access statement? A search for archives in re3data allows you to tick a box restricting results to those that provide persistent identifiers.
  • Are access restrictions or embargoes permitted? Will the archive ensure that confidential or personal data are secured if that is required?
  • Do the archive's terms and conditions fit with the University's Intellectual Property policy? For example, does the archive require that you assign any copyright in the data to the archive? We recommend avoiding using archives that require transfer of rights.
  • What licences are available and do they comply with the University's Research Data Policy?
  • Is the archive established and well funded, so that you can be confident it will still operate in 10 years' time?

For more guidance, see the checklist 'Where to keep research data' (external website), published by the Digital Curation Centre.

For advice on the suitability of a given archive, please contact the Library's Research Data Service.

Depositing your data

Each archive has its own set of procedures for data deposit, so please consult your chosen archive for more information.

Once you have deposited your data, you should either create or update the record for the dataset in Pure. In the section 'Data availability', provide the name of the archive you used as the publisher, and if your dataset has been assigned a DOI, enter it in the appropriate place.

If there is already a record for the dataset in the University of Bath University of Bath Research Data Archive, you should update that as well. Fill out the section 'Data held outside the archive' on the 'Upload' tab, or contact the Library's Research Data Service so we can do it for you.