A long-term archive of research data can have a number of benefits. Details of this can be found on the UK data service. In summary archived data:
- Demonstrates compliance with national information access legislation and other funding body and sponsor requirements
- e.g. Freedom of Information Act 2000, Data Protection Act 2018, Environmental Information Regulations 2004, etc.
- Secures the ongoing accuracy, authenticity, reliability, integrity and completeness of research data by safeguarding it against loss, deterioration, unauthorised or inappropriate access, obsolescence and future incompatibility.
- Adds value to the University's overall research profile, saving effort and resources over time and enabling future sharing of research data.
- Increases the visibility of institutional research over time by providing robust evidence of past, current and ongoing University research activity, broadening, deepening and supporting its long-term impact.
Expectations for data archival
The Edinburgh Napier Data Management Policy states requires research data to be retained at least 10 years after project completion to allow time to substantiate research findings which are of potential long-term value or to support a patent.
The policy also requires that funders and/or sponsors requirements are met. An increasing number of funders require data from funded projects to be archived for a minimum period after the end of the project. Funder policies vary. Please refer to the terms and conditions of your grant/award letter/contract for specific policies and requirements.
When storing and archiving it is important to have a systematic approach to formatting, versioning and organising your data. Recommendations can be found in in the UK data service guidance.
How to find a suitable data repository
Edinburgh Napier has its own data repository within Worktribe, which is free to use. This is the recommended repository for your data. You can add data at any time via the outputs menu. Please ensure your data is final and an appropriate format for sharing. However some funders require you to use a specified repository as part of their terms and conditions.
A growing number of data repositories and databases are available that archive research data from many subject areas. Unfortunately, coverage of different disciplines varies - the social sciences and biosciences are well supported but relatively few data repositories accept engineering data.
To help you find a suitable data repository a number of lists are available:
To archive the data created by projects they support, some funders run their own data centres or provide lists of recommended data repositories:
A number of journals support the use of Dryad for data underlying scientific and medical literature. Nature's Scientific Data journal also maintains a list of recommended data archives.
How to assess the suitability of an external data repository
There are a number of things to consider when selecting a suitable repository to archive and publish your research data:
- What type of data does the repository accept and what is its subject focus?
- Does the data repository have a good reputation in your field?
- Is it recommended by your funder or journal?
- Is the archive established and well funded so that you can rely on it still preserving your data in 10 years time
- Will the repository issue your data with a persistent identifier, such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or an accession number, you can include in a data access statement?
- A search for archives in re3data allows you to tick a box restricting results to those that provide persistent identifiers.
- Will the repository provide enough metadata to enable your data be discovered and cited by other researchers?
- Are access restrictions or embargoes permitted?
- Do the archive's terms and conditions fit with the University's Intellectual Property policy?
- For example, does the archive require that you assign any copyright in the data to the archive? We recommend avoiding using archives that require transfer of rights.
- What licences are available and do they comply with the University's Research Data Policy?
If you are considering using an external data archive and require advice on its suitability, please contact RDM@napier.ac.uk for advice.