Selecting a Repository for Data Deposit

Finding a research data repository suitable for depositing your research data can be challenging. While some academic disciplines have established research data repositories, many fields of research do not have easily available options for archiving and online access. Search for repositories for your field on the re3data.org website or contact us for assistance in locating a suitable data repository. At Johns Hopkins University, JHU researchers may deposit their research data into the JHU Data Archive.

Below we provide questions you can ask in determining whether a particular repository will work for your circumstances.

Contact us for

  • assistance in evaluating repository options and to discuss your research and data access needs.
  • if you are interested in archiving your data with the JHU Data Archive. You can also take a look at the archiving services we offer. We can help you consider all of your options for data repositories, and whether the JHU Data Archive would be an optimal choice.

Prior to repository selection we suggest you consider the

Ten Primary Questions
  1. Is this repository one that colleagues in your researcher community would be inclined to search to find the research data you will or have produced? (re3data.org can help you find data repositories that may be appropriate for your data)
  1. Can your data be uploaded in a format useful to others in your your research discipline (and other disciplines)?
  1. Can you restrict access to your data as needed (e.g. b/c data has personal identifiers or is proprietary)?
  1. Can the data be cited and found in a unique and persistent way, e.g. with a data citation and digital object identifier (DOI)?
  1. Are preservation actions being taken by the repository to maintain the integrity of your research data? These could include steps to maintain file integrity, keeping multiple copies, etc.
  1. How long are your data to be retained in the repository? What will occur at the end of that data retention period? (Note: Running a repository costs money; if the repository states that they will store your data ‘forever’ or ‘indefinitely’ it should give some cause for concern)
  1. Is there support provided for data documentation and/or data deposit? If so, how expansive is this support?
  1. Are your rights of the repository and your rights as data depositor clear?
  1. Are the rights and licenses under which your data can be accessed and used clear? (e.g. through Terms of Use)
  1. What will it cost you to have your data deposited in this repository?
Other Questions to Consider
  1. Can an interested researcher visualize or otherwise examine data in this repository prior to downloading?
  1. Are there means to modify or remove your research data after initial deposit?
  1. Will previous versions of your research data be made accessible if you deposit more than version of your data?
  1. Can the repository link your data to associated publications/reports, and vice versa?
  1. Can the descriptive metadata (i.e. cataloging information) about your research data collection be found via common Internet search engines?
  1. Will the repository search interface help prospective users of your data find them?
  1. Is the repository established in your research discipline? (This could be assessed by how long the repository has existed, how many data collections are held, and how many times are these collections have been accessed)
  1. Is the repository being funded in a way that suggests long-term sustainability? (Ex. Being only grant-funded is cause for concern)
References

Data Seal of Approval Guidelines

Vocabulary for the Registration and Description of Research Data Repositories (Re3Data)

(page last updated April 22nd 2015)