Choosing a data repository
Data should be deposited in data repositories specific to your research domain or the data type, where these are available. These are community places of resort and provide subject-specialist curation. They include services funded and supported by Research Councils, which you may be required or encouraged to use if you are funded by a Research Council, and repositories recommended by various funders and publishers. In the absence of a suitable subject or data type-specific repository, you can use the University's Research Data Archive or a general-purpose data sharing service.
If your funder supports or recommends a particular data repository, you should use this. Some Research Councils directly fund data centres and expect or encourage researchers to offer their data to these. The main data centres are:
- Archaeology Data Service (AHRC and NERC);
- UK Data Service (ESRC);
- NERC data centres (CEDA Archive, Environmental Information Data Centre, and others).
Only NERC requires its researchers to offer their data to the relevant NERC data centre. ESRC requires data to be deposited in either its ReShare repository (part of the UK Data Service), or an appropriate responsible digital repository, such as an institutional repository.
You do not have to be Research Council-funded to be eligible to deposit data in ReShare or the Archaeology Data Service, as long as your data are within the scope of their collection policies.
BBSRC contributes funding to a number of international bioscience data sharing resources, including the molecular biology databases of the European Bioinformatics Institute. The Wellcome Trust also maintains a list of approved data repositories.
Although most journals accept the submission of supplementary data alongside a journal article, it is generally better to deposit data in a dedicated data repository and reference them from an article. Many publishers now prefer this and recommend discipline-specific repositories, for example Springer Nature and PLOS.
University of Reading Research Data Archive
In the absence of a suitable external service staff and research students can use the University's Research Data Archive. Research data in non-digital formats and digital data that cannot be made accessible or require controlled access should also be registered in the University Archive. The Archive can provide a mechanism to regulate access to controlled data under data sharing agreement where this is necessary.
General-purpose data sharing services
You can also use general-purpose data sharing services, such as Zenodo (funded by the EC), and figshare (a commercial service that is free to individual users). These will not provide the quality control that a specialist or institutional data repository offers, but they are free, quick and easy to use.
Costs of archiving
Most publicly-funded data repositories accept data deposits free of charge. Among Research Council-funded data centres the Archaeology Data Service is an exception. Many general-purpose data sharing services are also free to use, but may have limits on the size of datasets.
The University Archive is guaranteed to be free for deposits up to 20 GB in volume; larger deposits may be subject to a charge, but this is only likely if the dataset volume is significantly greater. If you wish to deposit a dataset larger than 20 GB with the University, please contact us to discuss your deposit.
Where there is an archiving charge for a data repository, it may be possible to recover this from grant funding (e.g. Research Councils allow recovery of data archiving costs).