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 that support published findings in a suitable data repository and clearly reference them from the related publication(s). This is a standard research transparency requirement, which is also expressed by many public funders of research.

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.

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 in the Acknowledgements section.

You should also include a formal full citation for the data in your main references list. This is very important, because the full citation will be rendered by the publisher as a structured machine-readable reference, containing sufficient information to unambiguously identify and locate the dataset.

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 and cited in full in your references.

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 are commercially confidential), you should 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.

As a Reading researcher you can use the University's Research Data Archive to preserve both publicly-accessible and restricted data.


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. The requesting person may also need to fulfil certain conditions to be granted access to the data, such as signing a confidentiality agreement.

The data steward would typically be the project PI or an authorised representative. Their contact email can be recorded on the metadata record for a restricted or offline dataset in the University Research Data Archive.

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. It is best to create this record in the Research Data Archive itself, as this provides a means for others to find out about the data and to request access to them.

Remember, if data are stored under your authority and you leave the University, you must hand them over to a colleague if you leave them behind, or provide a forward contact if you take them with you. 



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. Please contact for help with structuring your data access statement.


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]. 

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:

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

Supporting data are available to bona fide researchers, subject to registration, from the UK Data Service at


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.

This page was created based on the University of Bath Data Access Statements guidance.





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