Choose data preservation archive
There are different ways to share data and the route you take may be dependent on your discipline, or what your funder expects.
What is preservation?
In the context of data management, data preservation refers to the process of maintaining access to data so that it can still be found, understood and used in the future. This usually does not mean that data need to be kept forever but for a certain period of time similar to the arrangements in a physical archive.
When do I preserve my data?
Generally, after the publication has been accepted the underpinning data will be submitted to a repository for immediate publication. However, embargoes of up to 12 months are accepted by some funders. Once these have been approved, granted, or accepted, then the data will be made available for reuse within its licencing guidelines.
Where do I preserve my data?
There are two things you need to do first:
Check your funder's Terms and Conditions if you are required to deposit your data in a specific data archive. For a quick overview of the main funding bodies, consult the DCC's table. If you have a Data Management Plan for your research project you should have stated where you intend to deposit your data.
If you are not required by your funder you will be able to deposit your data for preservation with Lancaster University using Pure. See our Data and Pure webpage for details.
If you do deposit your data in data centre that is run or recommended by your funder, you do not need to deposit your data with Lancaster University. It is not a requirement that all research data must be held within the University. However, you do need to have your metadata about your research data in Pure, just like you would do with research publications. Please consult our Data and Pure page for details.
See below for a decision tree about where to deposit your data:
How long do I need to preserve my data?
Lancaster University's Research Data Management Policy (Word doc) states "that all research data will be stored in either electronic or paper form for a minimum of 10 years after the end of a project, unless ethical considerations, participant confidentiality, FOI requirements or external agencies eg NHS, specifically require otherwise."
However, your funding body might have issued certain requirements as part of the grant conditions. Generally, if your funder's data policy covers long-term curation, the expected periods for preservation range from 3 years to 10 or more years.
Suitable Data Centres
Please also consult the excellent guide by the Digital Curation Centre: Where to keep research data: DCC checklist for evaluating data repositories.
UK data centres run by funding bodies
Depending on your funder's Terms and Conditions, you are required to deposit your data in a specific archive or repository. Your funding body might run its own data centre:
- ESRC funds the UK Data Archive for social science data. Data being collected or produced in all ESRC projects need to be offered to the UK Data Archive using ReShare;
- The Archaeology Data Service (ADS);
- The National Environment Research Council (NERC) Data Centres, such as the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC); and
- Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has several data centres available but not all curate data.
These and other data centres run or supported by major funding bodies are very likely to be supported and updated in the future. We encourage Lancaster researchers to deposit their research data with these services.
Other data repositories
There are many services available, depending on your research area, and the list is growing. Two examples are:
- Figshare, a general purpose repository including data sets; and
- Zenodo, another general purpose repository for all fields of science that accepts closed access uploads.
While these services are a good resource to find and access other researchers' data at the moment, we would encourage you not to deposit your data with these services. It is currently not clear if these services will be long-lasting with business models very new and still in development. We will certainly keep evaluating these data repositories and update our recommendations if necessary.
You are free to publish your data here in addition to depositing your data in a data centre recommended by your funder or by the University. Make sure you are happy with Terms and Conditions of the data centre, that persistent identifiers (such as DOIs) are provided and that access restrictions you might require are in place. The data repository registry re3data can help you identify suitable data centres.