Internal, open access

Data Access Statements

Data access statements, also known as data availability statements, are used in publications to describe where supporting data and other materials can be found and under what conditions they can be accessed.


Why provide a data access statement?

The University's Research Data Management Policy requires you to preserve data generated in the course of research that support published findings in a trustworthy data repository and to link to them from any related publication(s).

Many public funders hold the same expectations. The RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy and the RCUK Policy on Open Access both state that published research findings should include information on how supporting research materials, such as data, samples or models collected or generated in the course of the research, can be accessed. The Research Councils further expect that such materials will be preserved and made publicly available wherever by possible using a data repository.

Many publishers also now require authors to provide a statement indicating where and how any data underlying a publication can be accessed.


Where to provide the data access statement?

If the journal you are publishing in has a 'Data availability' or 'Data accessibility' section, include your statement here. Alternatively you can include a data access statement in the Acknowledgements section.

You should also include a full citation for the data in your main references list. An example citation is provided further down this page. 

Secondary data

You would not be expected to reference secondary data in your data access statement, but as with any sources used or cited in the article, you should provide a brief in-line reference on first mention in the article, and include a full citation to the secondary dataset in your references, using the dataset DOI or other unique identifier whenever possible.


What to include in your data access statement?

The recommendations below outline the main options for what to include in the data access statement. A number of examples are provided further down this page. These general principles apply:

  • If data are openly available, the name of the data repository they are stored in should be provided, as well as any persistent identifier or accession number for the dataset.
  • If there are legal, ethical or commercial reasons why the data cannot be made openly available, any restrictions should be specified in the data access statement.
  • If data have been provided in full in the article or as supplementary information, this should be stated.
  • A direction to contact the author for access to data would not normally be considered an acceptable data access statement. 


How to ensure your data remain accessible and can be easily cited

The best way to ensure your data remain accessible in the long-term and can be easily cited is to record and store them in a trustworthy data repository. The data repository will assign a persistent unique identifier to the deposited data (typically a DOI), which should be included in your data access statement and citation.

Even if it is not possible to make data publicly available (if, for example, the data contain confidential information), you can still preserve the data in an access-controlled repository. The repository will publish an online metadata record which describes the data and specifies the access restrictions that apply to them.

To preserve your data various repositories may be available to you, depending on the research area and the type of data. We provide information to help you select a suitable trustworthy data repository. As a Reading researcher you can always use the University's Research Data Archive to preserve both publicly-accessible and restricted data.

In some cases, for example where small amounts of data are concerned, it may be easier to include the data as part of the article itself or in supplementary information. While this may be acceptable by exception, as a rule it is preferable to deposit data in a data repository and reference them from the article. Publishers may restrict access to content held on their site; and they will not usually publish detailed metadata describing a dataset or assign a unique identifier to supplementary data, meaning that data are not discoverable and citable in their own right.



Standard data citation (include in reference list)

The standard citation format for a Dataset in the University Research Data Archive is:

Creator(s) (PublicationYear): Title. Publisher. Resource Type. Identifier

For example:

Smith, John and Jones, David (2015): Electricity Pylons of the UK, 1928-2005. University of Reading. Dataset.

This is the citation format recommended by DataCite, the organisation that assigns a permanent Digital Object Identifier to the dataset record.

When you create the metadata record in the Research Data Archive it will automatically generate a citation for you in this format that can be copied and pasted into your list of references. The citation can be easily reformatted in accordance with a particular citation style, e.g. Chicago, Harvard, etc.


Data access statements

Below there are examples of data access statements covering a variety of different scenarios. Depending on the nature of your data you may wish to combine information from different examples.


Openly available data

Data supporting the results reported in this paper are openly available from the University of Reading Research Data Archive at

All data supporting this study are provided as supplementary information accompanying this paper.

All data are provided in full in the results section of this paper.


Citation of multiple datasets

This publication is supported by multiple datasets, which are openly available at locations cited in the reference section.


Secondary analysis of existing data

This study was a re-analysis of data that are publicly available from the British Atmospheric Data Centre at [DOI]. Data derived through the processing undertaken in this study are available from the University of Reading Research Data Archive at


Ethical restrictions

Anonymised interview transcripts from participants who consented to data sharing, plus other supporting information, are available from the UK Data Service, subject to registration, at [DOI]. 

For ethical reasons, supporting data cannot be made openly available. Further information about the data and conditions for access are available at the University of Reading Research Data Archive:

Because of the [commercially/politically/ethically] sensitive nature of the research, interviewees did not consent to the retention or sharing of their data.


Commercial restrictions

Supporting data will be available from the University of Reading Research Data Archive at after a 6 month embargo from the date of publication to allow for commercialisation of research findings.

Because of confidentiality agreements with research collaborators, supporting data can only be made available to bona fide researchers subject to a non-disclosure agreement. Details of the data and how to request access are available at the University of Reading Research Data Archive:


Non-digital data

Non-digital data supporting this study are stored by the corresponding author at the University of Reading. Details of how to request access to these data are provided in the documentation available from the University of Reading Research Data Archive at


No new data created

No new data were created during this study.


Further information

For more information on this subject read the Digital Curation Centre guide, How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications.

Information provided here has been based on the University of Bath Data Access Statements guidance.





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