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 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 also expect that data supporting published research findings will be preserved in the long term and made publicly available wherever by possible using a data preservation/sharing service.
The University expects you to comply with these policy requirements when you seek publishing costs from the Open Access fund.
The University also expects that all published research outputs which rely on research data and other materials will provide information about where and how they can be accessed.
These requirements can be met by preserving your data in a suitable preservation service and providing a data access statement in your paper, which includes a direct link to the data and/or to a detailed metadata record for the data.
Where to provide the data access statement?
If the journal you are publishing in has a 'Data resources' or 'Data access' section, include your statement here. Alternatively you can include the data access statement with the acknowledgement of funder support.
You can also include a formal data citation in your main references if appropriate. An example citation is provided further down this page.
What to include in your data access statement?
What you need to include will vary according to the data used, where they are being stored, and whether you are making the data openly available. 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.
- If data are openly available, the name(s) of the data services they are stored in should be provided, as well as any persistent identifiers or accession numbers for the data;
- If there are justifiable legal or ethical reasons why your data cannot be made available, these should be specified in the data access statement;
- If the data themselves are not openly available, the data access statement should direct users to a metadata record that describes any access constraints or conditions that must be satisfied for access to be granted. This metadata record can be created in the University's Research Data Archive;
- If you did not collect the research data yourself but instead used existing data obtained from another source, this source should be credited.
A simple direction to interested parties to contact the author would not normally be considered a sufficient 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 suitable data service.
Even if it is not possible to make data publicly available (if, for example, the data are commercially confidential), you should ensure your data are securely preserved and publish an online metadata record which describes the data and specifies the access restrictions that apply to them.
As a Reading researcher you can use the University's Research Data Archive for this purpose. Using the Archive you can:
- create a metadata record for digital and/or non-digital data;
- generate a citation for your data including a unique permanent Digital Object Identifier, which you can copy and paste into a publication manuscript;
- deposit digital data for long-term preservation; and
- specify and control the terms of access to the data.
Because this is an institutional service you do not have to worry about maintaining any data you deposit yourself or about dealing with requests to access your data; and you can be confident that your data will be preserved and managed according to established standards of service.
How to manage access to data that are restricted or offline
Where sensitive or confidential data are concerned, authorisation from the data owner or a data steward may be required before a user can be allowed to access them. In the case of non-digital data, access will also need to be mediated through some responsible person.
In both these cases a designated contact will be required. The contact person can be recorded on the metadata record for a restricted or offline dataset in the University Research Data Archive.
When providing contact details it is better to provide a departmental or administrative contact rather than a named individual contact where possible.
You must also take care to ensure that data are retained and remain accessible in accordance with University and any funder requirements. Restricted data can be securely stored in the Research Data Archive, so that any request for access to them is granted only by a designated authorising agent on specific legally-binding terms. Non-digital data should be stored in a secure School or Department archive or office. At least one colleague (for example, a departmental administrator), should have a record of where the data are and how they can be accessed.
Remember, if you leave the University, you must hand over the data to a colleague if you leave them behind, or provide a forward contact if you take them with you.
Standard data citation
The standard citation format for a Dataset in the University Research Data Archive is:
Creator(s) (PublicationYear): Title. Publisher. Identifier
Smith, John and Jones, David (2015): Electricity Pylons of the UK, 1928-2005. University of Reading. http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11
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 a publication. 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. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help with structuring your data access statement.
Openly available data
Data [creating during the research/supporting the results] reported in this paper are openly available from the University of Reading Research Data Archive at http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11.
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 existing data that are publicly available from EMBL at http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11. Further documentation about data processing are available from the University of Reading Research Data Archive at http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11.
The study brought together existing data obtained upon request and subject to licence restrictions from a number of different sources. Full details how these data were obtained are available in the documentation available at http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11.
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11.
Because of ethical concerns, 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11.
Because of the [commercially/politically/ethically] sensitive nature of the research, no interviewees consented to their data being retained or shared. Additional details relating to other aspects of the data are available from the University of Reading Research Data Archive at http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11.
Supporting data are available to bona fide researchers, subject to registration, from the UK Data Service at http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11.
Supporting data will be available from the University of Reading Research Data Archive at http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11.
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.5072/1947.11.
No new data created
No new data were created during this study.
For more information on this subject read the Digital Curation Centre guide, How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications.
This page was created based on the University of Bath Data Access Statements guidance.